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Business News of Thursday, 21 July 2022

Source: GNA

TUC cannot assume sole rights to represent workers’ interests - Federation of Labour

GFL Secretary-General, Abraham Koomson GFL Secretary-General, Abraham Koomson

Mr Caleb Nartey, the President of the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL), says the labour law was not explicit on the status of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) to assume the sole right to represent workers without consulting the others.

Mr Nartey explained that with the coming into force of recognized organized labour, no national union would lose its relevance, but it would have the local unions at the bottom to engage workers while a choice would be made on those to sit at the various tops to represent employees.

He added that “when we are together as one, we will be more powerful than the parliamentarians, and can, therefore, champion workers’ issues better.”

He said the unions were disorganised, which was making it difficult for them to present a united front to fight policies, salaries, and conditions of work issues and this was making the government and employers happy.

Mr Nartey stated this during the Ghana News Agency Seminar in Tema to allow state and non-state actors to address national issues.

The President of the Ghana Federation of Labour reminded unions that the interest of the employer or investor was to make more profit, while that of the worker was to receive more pay, which would affect the employer, therefore, their joy at the unorganized lab our front.

Mr Nartey said union pluralism was made possible and easy with the replacement of Act 299 of 1965 with the Act 2003 (Act 651), which stipulated that the worker has the right to join a union, and also that two people belonging to the same entity could form a union.

Speaking on the Labour Act, Mr Emmanuel Addo Kumi, the Vice Chairman of Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL), said even though the Act gave the freedom to have more than one union at an establishment, it eschewed having conflicts among them.

Mr Kumi, who is also the Greater Accra Regional Vice Chairman of the Ghana Trades Union Congress, said pluralism had given liberty to workers to have different groupings at the workplace but has a clause to ensure that the union with the majority number have the right of negotiation.

He said to determine who has the majority, a headcount would be carried out and the certificate of bargain issued to their mother union, adding, however, that the majority group is mandated to consult the minority group on issues before negotiating.

Contributing to the discussion, Mr Abraham Koomson, GFL Secretary-General, called on national unions in Ghana to unite to create a formidable force to protect the interest of workers.

He noted that until organized labour was properly structured, employers and government would continue to exploit and neglect the rights of workers.

He said even though union pluralization was good, it was still very important for the various unions to come together to have the needed organized labour as referred to in the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651).

Mr Koomson noted that Ghana currently has about 140 labour unions compared to the 18 before in 2003, saying that most of these unions unfortunately were not strong.

He added that unions must know the mission of unionism to discharge their responsibilities to workers effectively and efficiently, stressing that unfortunately currently some form unions only for their interests against that of the workforce.

He said it was unfortunate that the moves to get a structure for organized labour has stalled for about six years even though the process was expected to be completed within six months.

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