Calls by the Trade of Union Congress (TUC) for a review of Ghana’s labour laws have been shot down as unjustified by labour expert, Austin Gamey.
Labour last week made the call for a review of the decade-old legislation at a pre-May Day forum in Accra under the theme: ‘Sustainable Development Goals and Decent Work: The Role of Social Partners”.
TUC General-Secretary, Dr Yaw Baah, said at the event that a part of the law which allows employers manipulate the statuses of workers as either permanent or casual workers when they see fit is a disincentive for workers in the country.
Deputy Director of Research at TUC, Prince Asafu-Adjaye, also reiterated the call by the unionized Ghanaian workers on MultiTV’s current affairs programme, PM Express, on Tuesday when he said there are certain aspects of the law that allows jobs to be destroyed easily.
“In the last two or three years, we have had situations where about 7,000 mine workers who, under normal circumstances had what you may classify as good jobs because they were in permanent employment and were entitled to a lot of benefits, but all of a sudden these workers’ employment were terminated.
“What is now happening now is that previously permanent jobs are now becoming casualised and these things find expressions in the way the law is crafted that makes it much easier for the employer to be able to terminate those jobs,” he said to buttress the position of Labour as the world marked Labour Day on Tuesday, May 1.
However, Mr Gamey, who was also on the show said the call by Labour is misplaced, touting Ghana’s Labour laws as among one of the best in the world.
“There is nothing in this law from page one to the last page that says that somebody should be made [a casual worker]. It is the dynamics that plays out,” said Mr Gamey.
He said the current law that the TUC is finding fault with ensures that labour unions in every establishment get protection through their collective bargaining agreements.
“What is written in the collective agreement, by this law, is even more powerful than the law itself. So in effect, there is really nothing anybody should be talking about in this law.
“This is a social legislation. It is not a law that has been drafted in some corner or by some lawyers hanging somewhere. It took us four years to write this law and the Secretary-General of the TUC and his deputy were part [of the process to write the law],” he stressed.
Mr Asafu-Adjaye rebutted that the law may have served Ghanaian workers well in the past, however, after ten years, there is a need to review it to deal with employee-employer challenges in the present time.