GTUC calls for collaboration to reduce unemployment in Ghana

Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) on Friday called on social partners to match the rhetoric on job creation with action in order to reverse the growing formality of employment in Ghana.

In a statement issued in Accra by Dr Yaw Baah, Acting Secretary General of GTUC, to commemorate World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), October 7, it said studies had shown that a tiny fraction of school leavers secure jobs in the formal economy, and the rest were compelled to seek employment in the informal economy.

This day has since 2008 been marked by workers around the globe in different ways to highlight the Decent Work agenda. This year’s World Day for Decent Work focuses on Decent Work in the Informal Economy.

Decent Work refers to the opportunities for women and men to work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.

The Decent Work agenda rests on four main pillars namely; employment, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue.

The essence of Decent Work is to ensure sustainable economic and social development.

Globally, millions of workers are forced to work in the informal economy where they earn very low incomes and live in poverty.

In Ghana nearly nine million workers, representing over 80 per cent of the workforce, are working in the informal economy.

“We have witnessed an accelerated growth of informality, particularly in the last three decades. Ironically, the rapid growth of the informal economy occurred at a time of remarkable economic growth, averaging over five per cent per annum,” it added.

The GTUC attributed the rapid informalisation of employment in Ghana to macroeconomic policy failure, Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), inflation targeting, unbridled trade and financial liberalisation policies that had all failed to create decent jobs.

“The situation is compounded by the policy of net employment freeze in the public sector,” it added.

Over half of informal economy operators in Ghana earn below the national minimum wage. They have no protection against work injury, loss of income due to sickness or old age.

In addition, informal economy workers hardly participate in decisions which affect their lives.

The growing informalisation has adverse implications for national development. The lack of regulations in the informal economy compromises the authority of the State as a large number of workers work outside the realm of the national labour laws, and the State loses revenue.

The rapid growth of the informal economy in Ghana has to be reversed. In the short to medium term, this would require a review of the net employment freeze in the public sector.

Government should employ more teachers and health workers into the public service, and reversing informality would also require a review of the economic and trade policies to bring them in line with the employment policy objectives.

“On this day, as we commemorate the World Day for Decent Work, we Ghana TUC, in solidarity with workers around the globe support those who are locked up in precarious and informal work where they face both income and job insecurity, among other challenges.”

Source: GNA

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