General News of Friday, 27 September 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Nii Armah Ashietey, has cautioned workers who stage illegal strikes to stop the practice, else they would have to forfeit their salaries for the period that they do not work.
Mr Ashietey gave the warning at a symposium held in Tema to mark the 20th anniversary of the Textile, Garment and Leather Employees’ Union (TGLEU) .
The theme for the celebration was: “Salvaging Ghana’s Economy: The role of Trade Unions”
He quoted the Labour Act to support his statement.
The Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) Section 168 (4) stipulates that: “… a worker who takes part in an illegal strike may have his or her services terminated by the employer without notice for breach of his or her contract of employment or may forfeit his or her remuneration in respect of the period during which he or she is engaged in the illegal strike.
“This is what pertains in other jurisdictions, and Ghana cannot be the exception,” he added.
He advised Ghanaians to work hard and adopt the right attitude towards work to enhance productivity so that the country could attain the higher middle-income status.
He said for its part, the government would provide a conducive working environment for businesses to thrive.
On unemployment, Nii Armah Ashietey attributed the development to the mismatch between the courses of study run by the universities and other tertiary institutions on one hand and the world of work on the other.
He, therefore, called for a better linkage between academia and industry to ensure that more emphasis is placed on courses for which there are many job vacancies.
The minister recalled the vibrancy of the textile industry in the country in the 1990s and said that it contributed about $179 million of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
He noted with concern that the industry had become a pale shadow of itself, resulting in the little contribution it makes to the country’s foreign exchange earnings, accompanied by low capacity utilisation and massive lay-offs.
Mr Ashietey said that the government could not effectively tackle the unemployment issue in the absence of a reliable information system.
“My ministry is therefore determined to put in place a reliable Labour Market Information System (LMIS) to provide labour statistics for national development planning and as an avenue to link job seekers to job providers,” the minister said.
The General Secretary of TGLEU, Mr Abraham Koomson, said the textile sub-sector, which was the leader in Ghana’s industrial sector, had considerably declined over the years due largely to over-liberalisation of the economy, which had made it almost impossible for local textile products to compete favourably with the cheap and counterfeit products from abroad.
Mr Koomson said currently, the four remaining textile companies employ less than 3,000 workers.
To save the situation and revive the industry, he said, the government had a responsibility to immediately enforce deterrent measures, i.e. destruction of impounded counterfeit/pirated designs.
However, Mr Koomson added, TEGLEU appreciated the measures taken by the government to deal with the situation.