Contract workers still shortchanged by employers [Audio]

If you are an employee on contract terms but not enjoying benefits as per the law then you must demand it.

This is according to labour Analyst Austin Gamey.

His assertions follow growing concerns over the meager pay given to contract workers in particular organizations notably those in the financial, telecom and security industries.

“You are not a permanent person, that’s just about it. You are not in the books as a permanent person, but you have the same access to the same medical facilities, you have access to leave although it is proportionate, you have access to social security, access to second tier, you have access to a number of benefits. The only thing you do not have access to is the fact that you are not established as a permanent employee.”

Checks by Citi Business News reveal that majority of contract workers are paid meager salaries by their employers.

“It’s not so forthcoming compared to the benefits the permanent staff earn because they get clothing and food allowances among others. But this is not the case for us contract workers,” one contract worker exclaimed.

The workers further explained that the fear of losing their jobs and joining the rising number of unemployed colleagues means they will have to accept the situation.

“It is not so promising though because most often you see people being laid off and you wonder if it might be your turn soon.”

Under Ghana’s labour laws such workers are entitled to at least rest periods, paid public holidays, night work and sick leave, irrespective of whatever terms agreed by the parties among others.

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The law also specifies that a temporary worker who is employed by the same employer for a continuous period of six months and more must be treated as a permanent worker.

In that case, such a worker must have a written statement which shows the date of appointment, job title, wage rate and payment interval, work hours, overtime payment, annual leave, conditions relating to incapacity for work due to injury or sickness, length of termination notice required by the worker and employer and details of social security or pension scheme.

But Citi Business News’ checks with most contract workers reveal that most companies have failed to comply with the law.

According to Labour Analyst Austin Gamey, contract workers must demand them what is due them.

He believes trade unions must come together to lay bare the terms to ensure contract workers get what is due them.

“It’s for trade unions to understand these processes and come to terms with it. It’s part of our Labour law.”

But one of the biggest outsourcing companies in Ghana, L’ainee Services tells me most of the claims by the contract workers are untrue.

The company’s General Manager James Laar tells Citi Business News benefits due workers are given to them.

“Our workers get the benefit just like any permanent staff will get. But when one is working on contract, your benefit is tied to the nature of the contract you hold. So it will not be the same as that of a permanent staff.”

He added, “You know we have various levels of workers so the salaries differ. But what we ensure at L’aine and I expect most outsourcing organizations to ensure is that they operate according to the labour laws so if government sets a minimum wage, nobody should pay below the minimum wage and L’aine ensures that all our workers receive salaries that are well above the minimum wage.”

By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

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