Need To Use Trade Unionism To Promote Workers Interest

Trade unionism exists to promote the interest of workers. The recognition of trade unionism in the world today is as a result of persistent and consistent fight against employers who in the past acted against the interest of the workers. As a result of this anti-workers stance, many of the workers came together to fight for their interests as a result of which they have now been recognised as legitimate entities that ought to be given recognition in the scheme of things. Even though trade unionism is good when utilised in the right way, it must be done within the framework of the laws of the country. If national laws are not obeyed, the result will be chaos and employers including government cannot have the peace to galvanise their resources to give decent salaries to workers. Quite often, labour officers feel the best way to have their grievances resolve successfully is to break the law and organise their workers not to obey the leadership of employers. Employers, including government, ought to be able to plan to meet the demands of workers. It is very important for all employers to recognise the interest of their workers to be able to meet their demands even if halfway. If workers and their employers can agree to negotiate over issues, irrespective of the challenges involved, it is the whole country that will benefit.
Industrial peace is very necessary for the promotion of socio-economic development in the country. The non-existence of industrial peace will bring about the non-availability of services of workers that maybe essential for socio-economic development. It is for this reason that every effort must be made to ensure that ingredients of peace on the industrial front are guaranteed in society. If it is done it will lead to progress in every part of the country and make everyone happy. Late last year the various teachers groups in the country embarked on a strike action which was needless seeing that the government, through Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service, had taken steps to resolve a substantial portion of grievances facing teachers. They resolved not to meet their employers to resolve the issue. In spite of the call by the National Labour Commission to sit down with the striking teachers and discuss issues to resolve the matter, the leadership of the groups did not honour the invitation to the disappointment of many Ghanaians. Even though many people sympathise in the delay in the payment of salaries of teachers, they find it disgusting that professional teachers in the public sector will want to violate labour laws in the country. At the end of it all, it took a court order to compel the leadership of the teachers to rescind their decision and go back to work.  Such developments can be avoided whenever there is mutual respect for all parties.
When strike actions are embarked upon, they affect all sectors of the economy. It is for this reason that all parties should have mutual respect for each other to resolve all issues in a peaceful manner. Needless to say, 2020 is an election year for which reason everything should be done to bring about total peace in the country. We, therefore, expect employers, on one hand, and the labour front, on the other, to come together in responsible ways to ensure that total peace prevails in the country, avoiding needless confrontation in form of strike actions.
BY: DR. KOFI AMPONSAH-BEDIAKO, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, GHANA STANDARDS AUTHORITY

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