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General News
Middle-Income Aspirations By 2015 1/9/2007
Tuesday, 09 January 2007
A labour consultant, Mr Austin Gamey, has noted that the middle-income aspirations of Ghana are attainable by the year 2015 if the country’s Labour Law will be allowed to regulate industrial relations.

He described the Labour Law as capable of transforming the country’s industrial landscape to ensure peace and harmony and said allowing it to govern industrial relations among social partners would help the country on its journey towards the attainment of a middle-income status by 2015 and other development indices.

Speaking to the executive members of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) local union from the Headquarters, James Town , Airport and Tema divisions on the Labour Law in Accra yesterday, Mr Gamey was emphatic that the Labour Law of Ghana was the best so far and that it was “reasonably adequate” in dealing with any labour issue in the country.

He disagreed with the notion that the Labour Law was inadequate because of the numerous industrial disputes the country experienced last year but rather blamed the social partners, who he said did not have the requisite knowledge on the law, as well as an understanding of that knowledge to functionally implement it.

Speaking under six main themes, Mr Gamey, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Gamey and Gamey Academy of Mediation (GGAM), charged the CEPS local union executive to make the difference of their stewardship clear by their leadership qualities, as well as their understanding of the law.

He said necessary knowledge, joint and shared responsibilities and duties of social partners, institutions and bodies, managing differences through prevention and dispute resolution and sanctions were the six broad areas under which the Labour Law could be defined.

Mr Gamey was of the view that the new industrial relations environment created by Act 651 required social partners to acquire a thorough knowledge of the Labour Law, as well as an understanding of its provisions and intent. That, he said, would furnish them with the skills in implementing it successfully and functionally.

He added that the Labour Law had done away with the traditional formal means of communication among social partners which was based on an inflexible contractual grievance procedure which resulted in adversarial positions and power-based approaches in relations.

He warned that organisations and leadership which lacked the necessary knowledge and vision in functionally applying the law were likely to be embroiled in a high number of grievances, unfair labour practices and litigation, among other things. He said the law imposed on social partners the critical joint responsibility and duty to demonstrate a high sense of commitment towards work.

Thus, while employers were vested with authority to employ and deal with all issues relating to that, they were equally enjoined to provide work and the appropriate means for carrying it out, with agreed remuneration at the time and place agreed in the contract of employment, he pointed out.

With workers, he said, their rights to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions was inextricably linked to their responsibility to conscientiously abide by the work ethics of the organisation. On the allocation of financial resources, Mr Gamey said sections 97, 98 and 9 (b) were clear that no party could unilaterally announce changes in salaries without negotiations from other partners in industrial relations.

He said that called for negotiations in good faith, which involved the sharing of information, confidentiality and openness.
Mr Gamey said other social partners, such as the judiciary and lawyers, also needed to redefine their methods of operation to suit provisions in the law. He said the courts did not have to entertain cases which had gone through arbitration, since that was final and binding if only the arbitrator had not erred ultra vires.

The Commissioner of CEPS, Mr Emmanuel Duku, said management had accepted the new era brought about by the unionisation of the workers of CEPS and called for dialogue in achieving set targets. The Local Union Chairman of the CEPS Union, Mr Christopher Larweh, said the union had been reorganised after a ruling by the National Labour Commission (NLC) that CEPS was not a security agency.

The Deputy General Secretary of the Public Services Workers Union (PSWU), Mr E. T. Ofori, assured the workers that collaboration would be key in all deliberations.
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