Stakeholders in the labour organisation have called on government to as a matter of urgency ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 183 on Maternity Protection and Convention 189 on Domestic Workers.
They explained that it was important that government of Ghana made a formal commitment to the implementation of all the obligations provided in the two Conventions and report periodically to ILO regarding the measures it had taken to ensure compliance.
“We want this to be one of the things Parliament would be discussing when (members) resume from recess and have it ratified even before we go for our international conference in June,” they added.
The stakeholders made the call when they met in Accra to brainstorm on the need for government to ratify the two conventions.
The forum was organised by International Union of Foods (IUF) in collaboration with Health Services Workers Union of Ghana Trade Union Congress, Public Services International, and Education International to climax the International Women’s Day.
According to the stakeholders, women formed the majority of the total working force and so the two conventions were their fundamental human rights that should not be denied them.
The Convention No. 189 on decent work for Domestic Workers was adopted on June 16, 2011 at the International Labour Conference of ILO concerning decent work for domestic workers, which is also referred to as the Domestic Workers Convention 2011 (No. 189).
It offers specific protection to domestic workers and lays down basic rights and principles that require states to take a series of measures with a view to making decent work a reality.
The Convention has 22 articles. Convention 183 was adopted on June 15, 2000 at the General Assembly of the ILO at the 88th Session of the ILO.
It was a revision of the 1952 Convention to promote equality of all women in the workforce and the health and safety of the mother and the child as well as protect maternity in national law and practice.
The convention stated that women who presumed date of child birth shall be entitled to a maternity leave of not less than 14 weeks and that should be accompanied by a medical certificate or other appropriate certification. Previously, maternity leave period was 12 weeks.
“With due regard to the protection of the health of the mother and that of the child, maternity leave shall include a period of six weeks compulsory leave after childbirth, unless otherwise agreed at the national level by the government and the representative organisations of employers and workers”, the Convention stated.
Mrs Netta Ackon, Deputy Director of Nursing Services speaking on the topic: “Women‘s Health and Maternity Protection,” said women were very fragile segment of the population and need to be protected during pregnancy and delivery.
Ms Adwoa Sakyi, Regional Women’s Project Coordinator of IUF noted that the Union and the International Domestic Workers Network viewed the adoption, ratification and implementation of the conventions by government as one of the key elements and measures to protect domestic workers and also as a human rights entitled them.
She expressed the need for Ghana to have the two Conventions ratified to protect women as well as domestic workers to perform decent domestic work.