May Day: TUC demands better social protection for workers
The Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has noted that there is little to celebrate as thousands of workers in the country still remain without social protection.
After 60 years of independence, the TUC says decent jobs, employment opportunities workers’ rights, and social protection are still far from reality, against the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 102 on minimum standards of social protection and security.
There is very little to celebrate as workers, said Kwabena Nyarko-Otoo, Director of Labour Policy and Research Institute, TUC during the 2017 National May Day Forum held in Accra.
The event was themed: Ghana@60: Mobilising for Ghana’s future through the creation of decent jobs, and organised by the TUC and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Ghana.
“The fact that there are no jobs, and even if you look at those who have jobs, their rights are been abused: very few of them are registered for social security, women are discriminated against because of maternity leave, so in terms of the labour market and in terms of employment, there is very little to celebrate”
“We want the full implementation of the new pension schemes, including the unification of all the pensions. Though we also recognise that there are challenges, these challenges relate to some of the things we have been hammering on, so we want government to fast-track measures to protect workers,” he added.
Out of the country’s 13 million working population, only 1.5 million are in what can be described as decent jobs, the TUC added.
As at October 2015, several thousands of workers in the private sector future were hanging in the balance as the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) found that 40,856 employers failed to pay workers pension contributions in the tier 2 of the new pension scheme.
According to the NPRA, out of 91,321 private employers, 51,466 were active under the SSNIT scheme in October 2015. However, the active establishments registered under Tier-2 were only 10,610, meaning there were as many as 40,856 without Tier-2 schemes at the time.
Decent employment, Mr. Nyarko-Otoo added, remains the principal and most viable route out of poverty for millions of Ghanaians.
“The economy must have the ability to generate opportunities for gainful employment. This will require that the economy expands (grows), creates opportunities for investment and entrepreneurship, job creation and sustainable livelihoods, because when economic growth fails to expand opportunities for job creation becomes limited, which also undermines the first element of decent work,” he said.