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Opinions Sat, 2 Sep 2017

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Workplace sexual harassment killing labour service in Ghana

The media coalition against galamsey has proven to all that, if journalists “get their butts up” and expose certain ills and criminal acts going on the country, they will get the needed attention and corrections would be made for all to enjoy peace and development.

That is why I always salute Mr. A.C.Ohene for his investigative reporting that exposed corruption and human right abuses that was going on in the Afram Plains district in the Eastern Region.

He was twice awarded the best GJA regional investigative journalist when he was with the Chronicle.

No wonder Mr. Fiifi Boafo, morning show host on Oman 107.1 F.M. also carried out a project to correct the ills and shameful acts of sexual harassments of the country’s young talented and industrial women who are needed to grow the nation.

I gave Fiifi Boafo thumps up because all along I was monitoring to see if any journalist will take up the matter and push for the correction of this sex for job canker which has been killing the country labour service. Somehow, sanity prevailed in some quarters.

One of the damaging forms of conflict at work which can seriously affect labour output can be harassment in whichever form from your boss says Christina Osborne, the author of the book, “MANAGING YOUR BOSS”.

She observed that in such situations which could be sexual harassments, as it has become the commonest of harassments in workplaces in Ghana in recent times, one needs to state what he finds unacceptable and if nothing changes, know his rights and how to protect himself if he wants to complain.

Sometimes, it sounds so funny flipping your laptop in a foreign destination, far away from home, to read news on the internet only to get reports of sexual harassments meted out to some workers who suffer more humiliation after complaining.

The simple question one asks after reading the news is “do the labour unions or the labour commissions exist at all?”

Let us assume they do exist because their executives hop from one radio to another sometimes battling the government for salary increments and other service conditions.

All that one hears from these labour unionists or labour commissioners on radio, television and read in the newspapers is demanding better service conditions or higher salaries without looking internal to identify some shortfalls within their sector to also correct to merit their demands.

This has made some people believed that the labour commissions or labour unions in Ghana only exist to organize strikes for members to wear red bands and shout “Kyooboi” in demand of higher salaries from governments. If I am lying, prior to 2017 May day what was workers cries?

No but do you hear about them hitting the streets to demonstrate against some of the inhuman treatments certain workers suffer at the hands of their employers, managers, directors or better still their bosses at work which is killing labour output?

There is credible evidence that workers in both government and private sectors face series of inhuman treatments worse among them being sexual harassment everyday in the course of discharging their duties with the chunk of them being women.

When one follows reported cases of sexual harassments that are doing the rounds from the schools, hospitals, government departments and agencies, “parliament?” as well as private sector company offices, it is sad how this work place romances or sexual harassments are retarding businesses of these institutions; and since victims are threatened with dismissals, they give in only to collapse the work.

Suppose the floor is open for all persons I mean civil servants who have suffered sexual harassments to come and tell their stories, we would be surprised the kind of evidence people will give that will expose “Holier than thou” person’s.

When the head of the Volta Regional branch of the National Disaster Management Organization [NADMO] was alleged to have sexually harassed his employee at which failure to receive justice made her to resort to occult [juju] for justice some people said it was unheard of.

This is not the first time sexual harassment of a female worker has gotten to the height it got to because certain bosses wanted to cover their assistants “ass” from disgrace, and victims to resort to “search and destroy” tactics like going to the press or juju for justice.

I hope you have not forgotten Yamoah Ponko’s story and now the police officer’s rape case.

Sexual harassment is at dangerous levels in the work place with a joint Reuters Ipsos global poll finding one in 10 workers have been pestered for sex by senior employers.

The survey of about 12,000 people in 24 countries found workers in India were the mostly to report sexual harassment with a report rate of 26 percent.

They were followed by workers in China 18%, Saudi Arabia 16%, Mexico 13%, South Africa 10%, and Italy 9%with workers from Sweden and France least to have felt sexually harassed in the work place.

In fact there are several women out there in Ghana who are being harassed day in and day out by their bosses who do not know where to go to lodge a complaint to seek redress and because they are threatened with dismissals try to keep mute and suffer only to retard progress at the work places.

There are so many human rights groups in Ghana but you will agree with me that their campaigns have all geared towards fighting against the spread of HIV/AIDS leaving another root cause of the problem unabated, “sexual harassment”.

Madam Ursula Owusu of FIDA now minister for communication, was once heard on Joy F.M. news sympathizing with Madam Charlotte Kumi, but her sympathy could have pushed the CHRAJ to conduct full scale investigation into the matter and put the matter to rest instead of mere complaint only for the victim to seek justice through the traditional court “juju”.

“Rise up 31st December Women Movement, rise up WABA, rise up CHRAJ, rise up association for female lawyers, rise up Trade Union Congress and work as a team to check this canker which is secretly retarding progress in labour production in Ghana”.

Columnist: Stephen A.Quaye

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