Traditional and religious authorities in the Upper East Region have called on the government to ratify and implement the provisions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 190, to protect workers from abuse and harassment to promote decent work.
This, they said, would address the gaps in the country’s laws especially the Labour Act and regulations and help create enabling environment for workers particularly women, to enjoy decent work conditions and dignity.
The ILO C190 on violence and harassment is an international declaration that was adopted by the global community on June 21, 2019, and it seeks to eliminate all forms of violence, intimidation and harassment at workplaces and ensure better conditions of service for workers.
The Convention in which Ghana is a signatory to, seeks to also to enhance the rights and freedom of workers and prevent employers from taking advantage of their employees.
The traditional and religious leaders made the call at Bolgatanga after a dialogue session facilitated by the Young Urban Women Movement (YUWM) with funding support from the Acton Aid Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization.
The leaders explained that sexual harassment and abuse was real at workplaces especially in the informal sector and was an infringement upon the fundamental human rights and dignity of the workers.
Reverend Dominic Ziba, the Head Pastor of the Holy Ghost Temple Assemblies of God Church, Bolgatanga, who read a communique on behalf of the traditional and religious leaders, noted that women were the most affected and the situation needed urgent attention to reverse the trend.
He said the laws of the country frowned on harassment and abuse at work and the ratification and effective implementation of the ILO C190 would effectively address the phenomenon as it would make room for perpetrators to be punished.
“While commending President Nana Akufo-Addo for the efforts made to protect worker’s rights especially women, we wish to humbly appeal to the President to, as a matter of priority take steps to ratify the ILO Convention 190 which seeks to eliminate all forms of violence and harassment at workplaces.
“We believe the ILO Convention will fill the gaps in our Labour Act and other statutory laws that are intended to curb abuse of workers. Again, joining the list of the countries that ratified the Convention will raise our image as a member of the ILO and put us on track towards ending the problem of violence and harassment at the place of work,” he appealed.
Ms Dorcas Zoogah, the Regional Chairperson of the YUWM, noted that the movement which comprised of young women was under the umbrella of Action Aid Ghana.
She said the movement which consisted of about 5,000 young women and about 1,500 young women in the Upper East Region had been working and advocating to influence policy direction geared at addressing challenges facing the growth and empowerment of Ghanaian young women.
She said over the years, the movement with support from Action Aid Ghana had been advocating issues of unpaid care work, sexual reproductive health rights and ratification of the ILO C190 to address harassment and abuse at workplaces.
“The ratification and effective implementation of C190 and Regulation 206 would be essential to address violence and harassment in the world of work, and particularly the prevalence of gender-based violence”.
Mr Yakubu Akuka, the Upper East Regional Programmes Officer, Action Aid Ghana, appealed to all stakeholders to join the campaign to compel government to ratify and implement the ILO C190 to promote decent work.