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The Trade Unions Congress of Ghana (TUC) has tabled strong demands on key sectors of the Ghanaian economy and on some key state institutions before President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at a meeting at the Flag Staff House.
In his remarks at the meeting with the President on Monday October 30, the Secretary-General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah identified 7 issues the Congress would like government to pay urgent attention to.
The first issue has to do with how the tripartite partners (Government, Employers and Organised Labour led by the TUC), can work together to ensure industrial peace. The TUC through its leadership are asking for constant dialogue between the TUC and Government. They also asked that the National Labour Commission be reformed as well as the amendment of the Labour Act( Act 651) to make all members of the commission full time workers for the Commission.
The second issue is about the ECG concession. The TUC Secretary stated that the Labour Act (Act 651) provides that in a reorganisation, such as the ECG concession, incumbent jobholders must be paid redundancy benefits. They therefore are urging government to intervene to ensure that the Union is properly engaged so that Ghana can benefit fully from the Compact.
The Third issues is about the Volta River Authority. The TUC stated that government's plan to search for a transaction advisor for the sale of specific thermal plants owned by the Government of Ghana/ Volta River Authority cannot be supported by them. They insist that VRA is more than capable of managing these plants efficiently and effectively.
The fourth issue is about SSNIT. The TUC says they think there is an urgent need for very radical reforms at the SSNIT.
Amongst the reforms stated are:
a. The formation of a stakeholders committee charged with the responsibility of reviewing board decisions and operations of SSNIT.
b. In addition to annual audits, there is the need for external evaluators to evaluate SSNIT's operations at least once every four years.
c. The appointment of Director General, Deputy Director General and senior management staff should be appointed by the Board or nominated by the board for appointment by the President.
d. The board of SSNIT should be expanded to include at least two more reps of workers and employers.
e. The Chairman of SSNIT board is appointed by government
The fifth demand has to do with the second tier pension schemes for public sector workers. The TUC says government owes these schemes millions of Ghana cedis and that government needs to start a very serious dialogue with the public sector unions with the aim of finding a lasting solution to this problem.
The sixth issue raised is about the Ghana textiles industry. Their concern is that a very significant proportion of textiles being sold in Ghana is fake. They demand that every effort should therefore be made by government to prevent these fake textiles from entering the country.
The seventh and last issue has to do with occupational health and safety. They observed that the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations completed a draft OHS bill that was supposed to be presented to cabinet in the previous administration. They beseeched government to ensure that the bill is reconsidered if need be and passed into law in order to protect the working people of Ghana.
The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah after a closed door meeting with the President and the TUC leadership, told the press that the President has welcomed all the concerns raised by the leadership of the TUC and immediate steps would be taken to ensure that their concerns are addressed with all the attention it deserves.
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