Regional News of Tuesday, 30 May 2006
Accra, May 30, GNA - The Institute of Human Resource Management Practitioners (IHRMP) on Tuesday condemned the current strike action of junior doctors of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital explaining that the doctors provided essential services for which the right for strikes was not guaranteed by the Labour Law.
They, therefore, appealed to the doctors to call off their strikes and exhaust all the channels of resolving the labour impasse with the National Labour Commission (NLC).
Mr Kwadwo Asare-Bediako, President of the Institute, stated the position of the Institute at a press conference in Accra to throw light on the activities of the Institute.
He said after the three stages of negotiation, mediation and arbitration, the Law required parties to an industrial dispute to give the other party and the Commission a written notification - if labour decided to go on strike or management decided to institute a lock out. In either case the intended lock out or strike action can take place only after the expiration of seven days from the date of notification.
The Institute noted that non-compliance in the form of illegal strikes was gradually becoming the norm since the Law became operational in the last three years.
He attributed the non-compliance to the lack education about the new law, lack of qualified human resource practitioners, lack of commitment to negotiate in good faith and communication problems between management and labour unions.
The Institute said until parties to labour issues were patient to make the law work and the Labour Commission applied appropriate enforcement provisions the Law would not be complied with. The IHRMP called for the education of workers and managers on the Law, adding that services of the NLC must be used to resolve grievances between management and labour.
It also called for the use of effective communication as a tool for resolving impasse, saying the Ministry of Youth and Employment should perform a clearing house responsibility which would advise and develop policies on the practice of industrial relations in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The IHRM called on the NLC not to hesitate to recommend sanctions against managements of MDAs, who were inefficient in handling matters of industrial relations, which eventually caused avoidable strikes. The Institute said Managements should also refuse to pay workers for the number of days they would stay on illegal strikes or terminate the appointment of workers, who resorted to illegal strike actions. "The NLC should within 24 hours of hearing about an illegal strike or lockout order a reversal of the action and the return to due process. When such an order is refused the Commission should within 48 hours go to court to enforce the order. And when the court order is refused, it (Labour Commission) should within 48 hours file for contempt."
It called for the appointment of qualified human resource practitioners as a first step to advising management and workers on the do's and don'ts of the Labour Law as a away to ensure respect for the Law.