Social protection and decent jobs must be non-negotiable worker rights…
Yesterday was International Labour Day, commonly referred to as May Day, and was commemorated by a parade at the Black Star Square by various worker groups in the country, including the Trades Union Congress (TUC), as well as government functionaries.
The working people of Ghana joined millions around the world to celebrate May Day and the theme for this year’s celebration in the country was: “Ghana @60: Mobilising for Ghana’s Future through the creation of Decent Jobs”.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), decent work involves opportunities for work that are productive and deliver a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration.
It also involves freedom for people to express their concerns, organise and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.
At a pre-celebration event organised by the TUC and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Director of labour Policy and Research at the Labour College, Kwabena Nyarko-Otoo, noted that after 60 years of independence, there is very little to celebrate since thousands of workers in the country still remain without social protection.
The Labour expert pointed out that even though the country has clocked 60 years of independence, decent jobs, employment opportunities, workers’ rights, and social protection are still a mirage to workers in the country.
Nyarko-Otoo observed that out of the country’s 13 million working population, only 1.5 million are in what can be described as decent jobs. Additionally, as at October, 2015, the retirement benefits of several thousands of workers in the private sector hang in the balance as the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) found that 40,856 employers have failed to pay workers pension contributions in the tier two of the new pension scheme.
He therefore called for the full implementation of the new pension scheme, including the unification of all the pensions. In this regard, we fully endorse that position since it is mandatory. With regards to decent jobs which is a scarce commodity, we believe as the economy expands and grows, and opportunities are created for investment, job creation will become a matter of course.
As the theme suggests, we are mobilising for the future by creating decent jobs. Therefore, all the programmes being pursued by government, such as the ‘one district, one factory and one dam, one village,’ are all geared towards creating jobs, which is commendable.
What we need to focus on now is ensuring that these jobs are sustainable so that workers can have peace of mind to function effectively.