Business News of 2014-08-15

Ratify conventions of the ILO - Labour unions

Three labour unions have called on the government to, as a matter of urgency; ratify five major conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for the general well-being of the average worker.

The unions are the International Union of Food (IUF), the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) and the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU). The conventions are 110, Plantations Convention, 1958; 155, Occupational Safety and Health, 1981; 172, Working Conditions (hotels and restaurants), 1991; 183, Maternity Protection, 2000 and 189, Domestic Workers, 2011.

The call was made at a symposium organised by the three unions in Accra to discuss and exchange ideas on some ILO conventions that Ghana had ratified and their level of enforcement. It was also used to seek the support of the participants to mount pressure on the government to endorse the five conventions as soon as possible.

Resolution

In a resolution signed by the Deputy General Secretary of ICU in-charge of Administration, Mr Emmanuel Benimah, the National Coordinator of the IUF, Mrs Lucy Philips Addepah, and a representative of GAWU, Ms Victoria Asuuka, the unions said the government’s inability to ratify the conventions was detrimental to the members and their welfare.

Deliberating on the relevance of the conventions, Mr Benimah said it was imperative that the conventions are immediately endorsed as workers in countries that had signed the conventions were enjoying greatly.

Mr Benimah further added that the groups were not only fighting for workers, but the general well-being and interest of the Ghanaian, adding “if Ghanaian workers are in good conditions, it goes in the interest of the whole nation.”

Maternity Protection convention

A Gender Desk Officer at the GAWU, Ms Basheratu Kamal, explained that the Maternity Protection Convention enshrined in the ILO Act mandated employers to ensure the safety of pregnant working mothers.

Referring to the specific law, she said it frowned on employers engaging a pregnant working woman to work beyond 10 p.m. and before 7a.m. without her consent. Ms Kamal emphasised the need to ensure that nursing mothers got enough rest before resuming work.

She stated that, “Nursing mothers should be given at least three months of maternity leave to enable them to recuperate well after delivery.” For her part, the Chief Technical Advisor in charge of ILO-Ghana, Mrs Akua Ofori-Asumadu, said maternity protection had been a key concern of the ILO since its establishment.

She said doctors advise that pregnant women should not be allowed to engage in hazardous work, as they might have challenges or complications during labour. Mrs Asumadu explained that the ILO had envisaged achieving the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 to reduce the high rate of child mortality.

‘’This is an initiative the ILO has taken upon itself to embark on, so as to reduce child mortality, and ensure equality of opportunity in promoting women’s empowerment,’’ she said.

Source: graphic.com
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