Business News of Tuesday, 15 October 2019
The Labour Rights Institute (LRI) has called on the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to ensure that the Labour Department and National Labour Commission work to end the exploitation of workers through fixed-term contract employment.
The Institute said the time had come for the Labour Department and National Labour Commission to enforce the provisions of the Labour Act on fixed-term contract employment by beginning to sanction employers for violating the labour rights of workers as well as exploiting them.
Mr Mohammed Affum, the Executive Co-ordinator of the Institute in an interview with the GNA, said the Minister’s concerns were unacceptable, especially, when the two statutory bodies existed to ensure compliance with provisions of the Labour Act, which regulates employment relations.
The LRI was reacting to concerns expressed by the Minister over the increasing rate at which employers are resorting to fixed-term contract employment as well as his directives to the National Tripartite Committee to dialogue with employers on the issue.
He explained that fixed-term contracts of employment were for specified periods of time or specified work and in other words, a fixed-term contract has a defined beginning and a defined end as agreed upon in the employment contract.
“That is why at the end of a fixed-term contract of employment, the worker is not entitled to redundancy pay as compensation for unexpected loss of job occasioned by operational requirements,” he added.
Mr Affum said, however, many employers had been employing workers on fixed-term contracts for work that was available indefinitely for many reasons including denial of career progression and the right to form trade union and evasion of payment of redundancy pay at the end of successive fixed-term contracts of employment.
“Where the work is available indefinitely, the worker’s employment should be for an indefinite period and not for a fixed term which is renewed successively. Therefore, an employer, who engages workers on fixed-term contract, where the work is available indefinitely is in violation of the Labour Act for unfair labour practice and ought to be sanctioned,” he said.
The Executive Co-ordinator said the Minister should resource the Labour Department and the National Labour Commission to carry out their respective mandates of labour inspection and compliance assurance instead of appealing to the conscience of the very employers who were consciously exploiting their workers through fixed-term contract of employment.