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Opinions of Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.

Workplace Sexual Harasment Killing Labour Service In Ghana

By: Stephen A. Quaye, Toronto-Canada.

Suppose every journalist in Ghana takes up one project and work on it to ensure that certain ills and practices being carried out in the country which does not seek the good of the country is corrected, it would have been great.

That is why I always salute my magic mentor Mr. A.C.Ohene for the project he took upon himself to investigate corruption and human right abuses that were going on in the Afram Plains district which the findings won him an award as the best GJA regional reporter when he was with the Chronicle.

No wonder Mr. Fiifi Boafo, host of morning show on Oman 107.1 F.M. is also carrying out a project to correct the ills and shameful acts of sexual harassments meted out to most of the country’s young talented and industrial women who are needed to grow the nation.

Thumps up for Fiifi Boafo because all along I have been watching to see whoever will take up the matter and push for the correction of this sex for job canker which has been killing the country labour service therefore wishing him all the best. At long last sanity is going to be prevailed.

One of the damaging forms of conflict at work which can seriously affect labour output can be harassment in whichever form from your boss says Christina Osborne, the author of the book,” MANAGING YOUR BOSS”.

She observed that in such situations which could be sexual harassment as it has become the commonest of harassments in workplaces in Ghana in recent times, one needs to state what he finds unacceptable and if nothing changes, know his rights and how to protect himself if he wants to complain.

Sometimes it sounds so funny opening your computer from a destination far away from home, Ghana to read news on the internet only to read reports of sexual harassments meted out to some workers who suffer more humiliation after complaining.

When it happens, one simply asks himself,” do the labour unions or the labour commissions exist at all?” Let us assume they do exist because we have been hearing from their executives on radio sometimes battling the government for increments in payment of salaries and other service conditions.

All that one hears from these labour unionists or labour commissioners on radio, television and read in the newspapers is demanding better higher salaries without looking internal to identify some shortfalls within their sector and call on members to also correct to merit their demands.

This has made some of us to believe that the labour commissions or labour unions in Ghana only exist to organize strikes for members to wear red bands and shout, ”Kyooboi” in demand of higher salaries from government. If I am lying wait and see what will happen come this year May Day.

No but do you hear about them hitting the streets to demonstrate against some of the inhuman treatments certain workers suffer at the hands of their employers, managers, directors or better still their bosses at work which is killing labour output?

There is credible evidence that workers in both government and private sectors face series of inhuman treatments worse among them being sexual harassment everyday in the course of discharging their duties with the chunk of them being women.

When one follows reported cases of sexual harassments that are doing the rounds from the schools, hospitals, government departments and agencies as well as from private sector company offices, it is sad how this work place romances or sexual harassments are retarding businesses of those institutions and since they are threatened with dismissals give in only to collapse the work. Suppose the floor is open for all persons I mean civil servants who have suffered harassments to come and tell their stories, we will all be dismayed the kind of evidence people will give that will expose “Holier than thou” person’s.

When the head of the Volta Regional branch of the National Disaster Management Organization [NADMO] was alleged to have harassed his employee sexually at which failure to receive justice made her to resort to occult [juju] for justice some people said it was unheard of.

This is not the first time sexual harassment of a female worker has gotten to the height that it has got to because certain bosses wanted to cover their assistant bosses from disgrace forcing the victims to resort to “search and destroy “tactics like going to the press or juju for justice. I hope you have not forgotten Yamoah Ponko’s story so soon.

Sexual harassment is at dangerous levels in the work place with a joint Reuters Ipsos global poll finding one in 10 workers have been pestered for sex by senior employers.

The survey of about 12,000 people in 24 countries found workers in India were the mostly to report sexual harassment with a report rate of 26 percent. They were followed by workers in China 18, Saudi Arabia 16, Mexico 13, South Africa 10, and Italy 9 with workers from Sweden and France least to have felt sexually harassed in the work place.

In fact there are several women out there in Ghana who are being harassed day in and day out by their bosses who do not know where to go to lodge a complain to seek redress and because they are threatened with dismissals try to keep mute and suffer only to retard progress at the work places.

There are so many human rights groups in Ghana but you will agree with me that their campaigns have all geared towards fighting against the spread of HIV/AIDS leaving another root cause of the problem unabated, sexual harassment. Madam Ursula Owusu of FIDA was heard on Joy F.M. news sympathizing with Madam Charlotte Kumi, but her sympathy could have pushed the CHRAJ to conduct full scale investigation into the matter and put the matter to rest instead of mere complaint only for the victim to seek justice through the traditional court which has started working I understand.

Rise up 31ST December Women Movement, rise up WABA, rise up CHRAJ, rise up association for female lawyers, rise up Trade Union Congress and work as a team to check this canker which is secretly retarding progress in labour production in Ghana.