The Director of Grievances, Negotiation and Collective Bargaining at the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Mr Cornelius Yawson, has said the commission will soon make recommendations to the government on what to do when workers unduly embark on strike.
He said it was time for the country to insist on due process when it came to labour relations.
In an interview, Mr Yawson said although strikes were the right of workers to be used in extreme circumstances to press home their demands, the intention of the Labour Law (Act 651) was an industrial relations environment in Ghana where no strikes existed.
The law had elaborate provisions for workers to redress any challenges they had.
These included dialogue, discussions, negotiations, mediation and arbitration, all fashioned to resolve any grievances between the employer and the employee.
“The law is fashioned to provide for the resolution of disagreements, with the National Labour Commission (NLC) empowered to take steps to facilitate and resolve grievances,” Mr Yawson said.
“With all things being equal and good faith prevailing, there should be no strikes,” Mr Yawson said.
Mr Yawson said in all jurisdictions, employers permitted the deduction of some amount from the salaries of unionised staff.
Such deductions were used for the administration of the union.
It was also meant to pay workers when the executive call for a strike.
Moreover, he added, before the executive of a union would call a strike, there had to be a “strike ballot,” where the members of the union would have to be consulted for a majority vote for or against the strike.
Mr Yawson maintained that that did not happen in Ghana, giving the example of the executive of POTAG who called for a strike and had some of its members still working in the regions.
That, he said, showed lack of consultation with the members of the union.
Mr Yawson said an advantage of insisting on a freeze of the salaries of workers who embarked on strike unduly was that there would be less strikes on the industrial front, which would be beneficial to the country.
He said the FWSC would make recommendations to the MELR on the matter.
Pay freeze arguments
On Tuesday, August 26, 2014, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), Mr Haruna Iddrisu, stated at a press briefing after meeting with members of POTAG that the “Government would take a major policy decision on its handling of strikes and salary payments in the foreseeable future.”
Mr Iddrisu refused to elaborate insisting that a formal communication on the matter would be made in the “foreseeable future.”
The Minister of Education, Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, who was also present, when asked about the freeze of salaries of the members of POTAG, asked journalists, “Have you read the labour law?”
On Monday, August 25, 2014, a source at the Ministry of Education said the government had frozen the salaries of the members of POTAG.
Members of POTAG had insisted that their three-month long strike was legal following a ruling by the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court on July 24, 2014.
The ruling was based on an application by the NLC for the court to enforce its directive for POTAG to call of its strike, which was given on May 21, 2014 but the application was dismissed by the court.
That was because the NLC did not follow its regulations outlining how it should go about resolving such disputes.
The court referred the matter for compulsory arbitration,
POTAG insisted that by the court’s decision, their strike was legal.
Source: Daily Graphic
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