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General News of Wednesday, 30 July 2003

Source: Graphic

Labour Law unique - Consultant

Accra (Greater Accra) 30 July 2003 - A Labour consultant and conflict mediator, Austin Gamey, has said the new Ghana Labour Law will inspire confidence in foreign and local investors to do business in the country.

He said the law, which was passed on Friday 25 July, is unique by all standards because Ghana has become the first country in the world to introduce such a law, which will drastically reduce labour hostilities to almost nothing.

Labour issues, he said, will no more be drawn to the courts because the new law has checks and balances which do not give any undue advantage to parties involved in labour disputes.

Gamey was commenting on the new labour law when he called at the offices of the Graphic in Accra yesterday. He said if the law is given the prominence that it deserves, "the investor confidence will be extremely high because they know there is a body they can always go to if the need arises".

He further declared; The law is, by all standards, a masterpiece which will inspire confidence both in the employer and the labour movement and so we must all be proud of it".

He said some powerful nations such as Italy and France have had a tough time coming out with similar laws because whenever their governments attempted to introduce them, they had tough confrontations with their labour unions.

He said another unique feature of the law is that organised labour and employers organisations are enjoined to nominate the chairman of the National Labour Commission to be set up, which will exclusively be responsible for resolving labour related disputes.

The government will be seen as an employer and will not be directly responsible for the resolution of labour disputes. Under the law, professionals and workers in the health, ports and harbours and air traffic controllers and utility service providers cannot go on strike.

The managements and workers in the specified establishments are expected to resolve their labour disputes within 72 hours and should there be a stalement after that period, they have to refer the issues to the Labour Commission.

"This is a significant shift because third party neutrals, otherwise known as mediators and arbitrators will be involved in all labour disputes", he said.

Gamey said the main reason why labour disputes were not easily resolved in the past was because the Ministry of Labour and Manpower Development, the Department of Labour and other government agencies involved in conflicts resolution were and continue to be "seen as political tools, thus, making confidence building extremely negligible".

He said when the National Labour Commission is established, the National Tripartite Committee will concentrate on fixing national statutory daily minimum wage and other economic issues of national character.