Mr. Abraham Koomson, Secretary-General of the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL), has urged labour unions in Ghana to prioritize the needs of their workers by serving their interests.
Mr Koomson speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop organized by GFL in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) for the national executives of the Federation, and its affiliates unions said if the needs of workers were not properly handled it would serve as a disincentive for others to join labour unions.
He said the current state of trade unionism in Ghana which he described as chaotic was preventing the unions from playing its historic role of defending and protecting the interest of workers.
According to Mr. Koomson, the employer and government would be very happy when they see confusion in the labour front, explaining that such misunderstandings weakened their negotiation powers.
He said while employers would encourage and fuel some of these activities, the government on the other hand would be the biggest beneficiary of confusion on the labour front.
He attributed the labour union misunderstandings to the ineffective representation of the labour movement in the country at the national negotiation forum of stakeholders, which he said was putting untold hardship on the worker.
Mr. Koomson observed that workers were paying so many taxes, which included paying for COVID-19 head levy, increases in the road toll, and sanitation fee, among others saying the unions should therefore come out with something reasonable as workers could opt-out if they were not benefiting from organized labour, a situation that could lead to its collapse.
He said it was about time union leaders improve their performances, stressing that the agitations in the public sector against leadership for non-performance could not be considered unjustifiable.
“There is no law in the country that compels the worker to join the union so they have to sit up as union leaders,” he added.
He called for the financial autonomous of the various unions saying, “if they are not financially autonomous, they can be manipulated by government and others.”
Touching on GFL’s partnership program with the ILO, he said the four-year partnership which started with capacity building for the GFL and other Labour Unions was expected to end with a resolution to revive trade unionism in Ghana.
The GFL Secretary-General noted that its objective was to critically examine the prevailing challenges facing the trade unions in Ghana, create awareness among the leadership of the Ghanaian public about the role of the unions in defending and promoting the welfare of workers and the society at large.
Other objectives included building the capacity of the leadership of the GFL on contemporary issues that impacted their work while mapping out strategies geared towards enhancing the financial and human resource base of the Federation.
Mr. Koomson added that they would also develop a coherent strategic plan to mitigate the identified challenges on the labour front.