Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrissu, has challenged Ghana’s Parliament to consider passing a new law that will curtail the duration of industrial strikes in Ghana.
The Minister proposed that a future law must put a 72-hour ceiling on the duration of strikes in a bid to prevent huge loss of man-hours and productivity arising from strikes in Ghana.
[contextly_sidebar id=”S7nUGyMf3B2AA9022m12x3VXewB9W8bV”]The Minister made the statement while answering question in Parliament about the status of the tier two-pension scheme, which has been of major concern to pensioners and Ghanaian workers nationwide.
Twelve labour unions in 2014 embarked on a strike action to force government to pay their tier two pension funds into a privately managed account.
Government subsequently dragged the labour unions to court after attempts to resolve the issue proved futile.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisua told Parliament that “Our Constitution guarantees freedom of association and we do recognize the right of workers to push home their demand to the withdrawal of their services.”
“But government will soon appear before this house for a policy review on strike actions generally. The law that provides for lawful actions and we have those that may be illegal or unlawful pending its determination by the National Labour Commission,” he added.
He explained that “if workers want to go on strike action, they can do so and government will respect it but they should do so within a limited time period.”
“I will think that in future Parliament should support us to legislate that you may not be on strike action beyond 72 hours but you can for purposes of driving home your demand withdraw your services. Within 48 to 72 hours, it’s important that you return to work because it affects productivity.”
Citing effects of strike actions on health delivery in the country to buttress his point, Haruna Iddrisu said “any loss of life, limbs, eyes or ears arising out of the doctor or the nurse not being at work cannot be compensated for yet if there are outstanding arrears to be paid, I’m sure at future date, government through consultation with them can reach an amicable settlement.”
He argued that the new law does not mean that government intends to “outlaw strikes” since “it is legitimate and legal and one of their most potent weapons but I think that it should be used rarely and not at all time to check us and to get the state to coil back into doing something that otherwise would not do.”
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana