Dr. Bernice Welbeck, Director of Administration and Human Resource at the National Labour Commission (NLC) has urged workers to contribute in preventing disputes at the workplace by following procedure in seeking redress to their grievances.
According to her, workers need to use the right lawful channels in seeking redress to their concerns against their employers, indicating that adopting appropriate measures helps to reduce labour disputes.
In a presentation on the use of Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in resolving labour disputes, at the just ended 2020 Mediation Expedition at the Bunso Eco Park in the Eastern region, Dr. Welbeck urged workers to report to the Labour Commission employers who fail to properly discharge their duties and responsibilities towards workers, rather than engaging in inappropriate actions such as illegal strikes.
“You don’t fight illegality with illegality,” she stressed, adding that illegal strikes only create more challenges for workers and their organisations.
She urged union leaders and HR managers to adhere to agreed workplace procedure and the provisions of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651 in the discharge of their duties, indicating that most labour disputes emerge because of non-adherence to either the provisions in the Labour Act or Collective Agreements.
For instance, she said about 85 per cent of employment termination cases filed at the Commission annually, are determined to be unfair termination because of flawed procedure.
Touching on strike actions, she noted that adherence to the provisions in the labour helps to prevent strikes, reminding both workers and management that the provisions of the Act relating to their relationship, have been crafted in a way to prevent disputes and strikes.
“If we all follow the procedures in the Labour Act, there would be no workers’ strike or lock outs in Ghana,” she stated.
She advised HR managers to uphold the tenets of professionalism and fairness in their dealings with workers to prevent disputes, adding that situations where HR managers only follow the instructions of the chief executives without recourse to the law and procedure, leads to workplace disputes.
Dr Welbeck advised employers and employees to adopt ADR mechanisms such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration to resolve their disputes, adding using ADR channels offer immense benefits for both workers and management in the interest of the organisation.
She commended ADR Daily for the organisation of the Mediation Expedition, which has the objective of enhancing understanding of the use of mediation in settling disputes, and urged Ghanaians in the work environment to adopt ADR.
More than 60 professionals from various organisations and sectors participated in the two day Canopy Walk Mediation Expedition which engaged the participants in ADR lectures, mediation moot sessions, learning mediation skills through various ecological activities.
Organised by ADR Daily, a specialized media firm, in collaboration with the Gamey & Gamey Group, the expedition sought to enhance professionalism in ADR practice, as well as promote a mass adoption of ADR mechanisms by Ghanaians to resolve disputes.
This year’s event had the theme, “Consolidating the ropes of ADR in Ghana,” and was supported by Consolidated Bank Ghana, HPW Fresh & Dry, The Ghanaian Times and Gamey & Co ADR Centre.
Opening the expedition last Friday, Mr Austin Gamey, Chief Executive Officer of the Gamey and Gamey Group, lauded the objective of the expedition, and called for the increase in the adoption of ADR mechanism for the amicable resolution of disputes.
He deplored the spate of disputes at the family, community and national levels, and urged people in dispute situations to seek the help of ADR professionals in resolving their differences rather than engaging in acrimonious litigation.
Mr. Saeed Musah-Khaleepha, Executive Director of the Gamey & Co ADR Centre, who facilitated the moot mediation sessions, for his part, encouraged the public to have confidence in the ADR system for the resolution of disputes, describing the benefits as enormous.
He also urged ADR practitioners to seek continuous training so as to be able to enhance their skills and knowledge to offer quality services.
By Edmund Mingle/ www.adrdaily.com