The Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, has admitted that the increasing level of labour agitations in the country, poses a threat to national security and productivity.
He fears that if all stakeholders fail to collaborate to effectively address the causes of the agitations, there would be dire consequences on the national economy.
Addressing a national labour conference at Kwahu-Nkwatia in the Eastern Region, the Minister encouraged the use of “time-tested” processes to prevent or address labour agitations across the country.
The country’s labour front has been in turmoil from the beginning of the year with a series of strikes and threats by key labour unions in demand for improved conditions of service.
Amidst worsening economic conditions, the unions are insisting that the government honours its commitments to workers in order to protect their welfare.
Some of the unions say they no longer trust the government and are not willing to engage in negotiations since the government has failed to honour its obligations in previously negotiated agreements.
As a result, a number of trade unions, particularly the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), has boycotted the two-day conference organised by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and its Tripartite Constituents involving Employers and Labour, on the theme, “Strengthening Tripartism for Peaceful Labour Relations and Resilient Economy.”
NAGRAT explains that its decision not to attend the event is based on its conviction that the meeting was not meant to salvage the hardships facing the ordinary government employee.
Describing the conference as a talk shop, Angel Carbonu, President of NAGRAT, indicates that the solution to labour problems require taking practical measures to cut waste in government expenditure, providing tools for work, honouring obligations to workers, and being honest with the unions
“The solution is not in holding conferences,” he stressed.
Issues under discussion at the conference include the state of the economy, conditions of service of public sector workers, public sector salaries, labour productivity, labour dispute prevention and resolution, and sustainable pension system administration.
The conference, which was opened by President Nana Akufo-Addo yesterday, is aimed at providing a platform for the various actors to exchange views and ideas on the thematic areas and emerging issues in a changing world of work to promote a positive and proactive approach to resolving labour issues for national development.