Multinationals urged to respect labour laws
Mr Edward Kareweh of the General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU) has warned multinationals in the petroleum sector not to put impediments in the way of workers who decide to join trade unions of their choice in Ghana.
He stated that the Ghana Labour Act 651 gave every “earthly right” to workers to form or join a trade union, to promote and protect their economic and social interests.
Mr Kareweh made the call at a two-day workshop on labour issues with the multinationals, as well as the roles of employer and workers and the overview of the petroleum industry in Ghana.
It was organized by the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Union (GTPCWU) and the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Union (LO-NORWAY) in Takoradi, at the weekend.
He said the labour Act was explicit that employers had no legal right to terminate the appointment of workers illegally and warned the multinationals to desist from such unfair labour practices, as well as discrimination and interference in union affairs.
He said Ghana found its oil in the midst of uncomfortable economic, political and social development in Africa, hence the need for a vibrant media, strong civil society and legitimate and effective framework for the conduct of public policy and a big push in transparency.
Mr Kareweh said the biggest challenges facing most oil producing countries were the equitable distribution of revenue, good governance and transparency in the decision making process, “but I believe Ghana would be different.”
He advised that oil revenue should not be diverted into massive importation of cheap consumables, which would undermine local production, adding that; “we have to put the right democratic participation in process, concerning exploration, otherwise Ghana would be like other oil producing countries.”
Mr Fuseini Iddrisu, General Secretary of the GTPCWU, said oil production in many African countries has not brought a high standard of living for its people, hence the need for trade unions in Ghana to take up the oil and gas industry as a priority issue, to protect the interest of workers and to make the oil find a blessing rather than a curse.
He gave the assurance that the GTPCWU would take proactive measures to secure good working conditions, wages and benefits, because of the health issues associated with the job, and also, to attain strict health and safety regulations at the production sites.