GhanaWeb TV




Labour unions express disappointment over absence of their participation AfCFTA agreement

Secretary General Of The Trades Unions Congress, Dr. Yaw Baah Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah

Fri, 26 May 2023 Source:

Labour unions across the African continent have expressed disappointment over the lack of their participation in the Africa African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

According to the unions, it more concerning that the agreement as of yet does not include labour provisions.

“It is a question of not being involved at all, the question of not being so much doesn’t even arise. So we were not involved. But we thought that trade is an important component of our daily lives, it also affects employment. It has impact on our members across all sectors of our economy; textiles, poultry production, farmers and others. So far as the policy stance of government or specific lay the African Continental Free Trade has impact on our members, we thought that it was only a matter of necessity that the unions should have been involved, the unions should have been asked to share their perspectives. It is not simply stopping the process, it is actually sharing our perspectives and ensuring that the process is fair, it is inclusive and eventually inures to the benefit of the country including its workers.

“So we are extremely disappointed that such a mammoth, very monumental initiative could go on across the continent without the involvement of unions,” the Director of Labour Research and Policy at the Trade Union Congress TUC, Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo remarked to the media at a Consultative Dialogue on AfCFTA held in Accra on Thursday, May 25, 2023.

The Social Partners Consultative Dialouge on the African Continental Free Trad Area (AfCFTA) was hosted by the Ghana Trades Unions Congress in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to deliberate on labour issues on relative to the free trade agreement.

Senior Technical Specialist at International Labour Organisation (ILO), Bureau for Worker Activities – Abuja, Madam Inviolata Chinyangarara, said the aim of the workshop to was to bring labour unions to the table for discussions on the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement.

“This very discussion is coming at the right time and we have the right people at the table. The address by a representative from the secretariat has been very insightful to reinforce our strategies going forward.

She added that going forward, the ILO would like to see provisions being made in the AfCFTA agreement to ensure decent work and conditions that respects the rights of workers in a fair manner.

The meeting received addresses from the ministry of employment and labour relations as well as various labour unions in the country.

A senior advisor to the Secretary-General of AfCFTA, Peter Joy Sewornoo made a presentation in which he shared the progresses made in the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement.

Among other things, he noted that 54 out of the 55 African Countries have signed the AfCFTA agreement while 47 out of the number have since gone ahead to ratify the agreement.