Labour Minister urges labour unions to institutionalize social protection schemes
Labour unions have been urged to take it as part of their mandate to institutionalize social protection schemes that would support their members in the event of any socioeconomic shock.
Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, said Government and employers must ensure that all workers were enrolled onto social security schemes as well as other social insurance services in order to cushion them against any loss of incomes in situation such as COVID-19.
The Minister made the remarks, when he chaired the 12 National Development Forum in Accra.
The forum, which was organized by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) was on the theme “The Future of Work in Post-COVID-19 Ghana”.
Mr Baffour Awuah said the challenges of the future of work were eminent and that COVID-19 had given them a fore taste of things to come.
“As Government, workers and employers, we have experienced how devastating it would be, particularly for those in vulnerable employment,” he said.
“As we prepare to enter the post COVID-19 era, we must learn lessons and put in place sustainable policy measures as well as mechanisms that ensure social justice and effective transition to the future.”
He noted that there was the need to invest in technological and innovative work processes to promote the employment and productivity enhancement objectives of Government.
“We must also invest in effective business development policies and programmes that provide support and ensure that enterprises are resilient to the changes anticipated from the future of work.
“We must also invest in effective active labour market policies and programmes aimed at providing skills that are responsive to the changing dynamics of the labour market, and which support individuals as well as groups to establish, manage and grow sustainable businesses for reduction of unemployment and poverty.”
Mr Baffour Awuah said the nation’s skills training programme should be able to provide versatile skills that would enable workers to enjoy the flexibility of moving from one job to the other.
He also called for investment in sustainable social protection schemes and expansion of coverage to all workers, particularly in the informal sectors to avoid overburdening the Government.
He noted that despite the difficulties that had been imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions, COVID-19 had brought to the fore the fact that work (the production of goods and services) could not always be done by traditional means.
This, he said had become glaring as enterprises and workers had to contend with the mega trends, including pandemics such as COVID-19.
He said the public sector and other formal establishments had to adopt staff rotation schemes, work-from-home arrangements and other digital platforms in order to maintain service delivery to their clientele and avoid productivity short falls.
He noted that some establishments in the services sector also adopted delivery platforms that enabled them to stay in business whiles observing the protocols.
Dr Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, the Director-General, NDPC, said contributions and recommendations from the National Development Forums were very vital to the work of the Commission.