The Future of Work Capsules : Managing technological change to boost decent work, including an international governance system for digital labour platforms


Managing technological change to boost decent work, including an international governance system for digital labour platforms, is among the ten recommendations made in a landmark report by the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work. The ILO, in the report, has called on governments, businesses and organisations to commit to a set of measures in order to address the challenges caused by unprecedented transformational change in the world of work.

 Managing technological change to boost decent work, including an international governance system for digital labour platforms will support the world economies to prepare for the future of work. In Ghana, the government launched on March 25, 2020 what is now called the Universal Quick Response Code (QR code) payment system to support Ghana manage its digital payment innovation which will transform Ghana into a cashless society.

According to, this universal QR Code payment system will allow customers to make payment for goods and services to a merchant from a mobile wallet or a bank account directly from a mobile phone. This move “will make it possible for all retailers to receive payments on their mobile phones without need for the traditional Point of Sale device”. Some nine banks are ready to provide QR Code services to shop owners and other merchants, following this electronic payment service’s launch in Ghana. This means that people who want to be set up to use QR Code can approach those banks for assistance.

The jobs lost may be gradual and slow, but will catch up. Thus, depending on its implementation in various countries, many jobs may not exist anymore. The space-to space service provider may not exist in the capital of Ghana but could still be relevant in the rural areas. Education becomes a great tool to use for pulling everyone along. Most countries have introduced this payment system since 2012, including some Asian countries. Singapore launched it QR code in 2019, making Ghana the only country in Africa with a Universal QR CODE payment system. 

What is a Universal QR code?

QR code payment is a contactless payment method where payment is performed by scanning a QR code from a mobile app. QR Code Payments have been in use since 2012. They are used in almost every form of payment, including buses, trains and in stores to purchase items.

Currently, there are different QR Payment options in Ghana but cash payments are still preferred and accepted as an easy form of payment – yet Mobile Money use remains steadily on the rise.

Government’s paperless systems agenda

The government of Ghana continues to express its resolve to automate all transactions so as to reduce human interaction. The move aims at reducing turnaround time for businesses and eliminating corruption, among others. As a result, government began implementation of the paperless clearing system on September 1, 2017 to speed up the process of clearing goods from two weeks to four hours, and ensuring order at the port while blocking loopholes.

According to Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia: “The universal QR code will bring about interoperability across the telcos and across all the banks. They will all be on the same platform, and this is the ‘game changer’.

“When you go to the merchant with a universal QR Code, as long as you have a bank account from any financial institution or a mobile money account from a telco, you’ll be able to pay the merchant regardless of which bank or telco has acquired the merchant or service provider, instantly.

“Any merchant can have it – so whether you are a chop bar operator, barber, carpenter, musician, mason, shoe-shine boy, kebab seller, roasted plantain (Kofi brokeman) seller, market trader, trotro/taxi driver, churches, schools, mosques and even funeral committees for donations, you can get the QR Code. Basically, any business can get a QR Code.

“We are breaking down the barriers and it is open for everybody to now get the QR code.” “What is very interesting is that any owner of a phone, whether it is a smartphone or a yam-phone (non-smartphone), can use the universal QR code. So, it is not limiting people to just smartphones because we have a large number of people who use feature phones or yam-phones.”

The QR Code is easy to acquire through several points, and he urged merchants to acquire one and make their business transactions easier.

“The Bank of Ghana, through Ghipss, has made it possible for the QR Code to be issued to merchants by banks, rural banks, savings and loans companies, telcos and fintechs. So, I urge every merchant to get a QR code from these service providers.”

On the global front, this technological change to boost decent work, including an international governance system for digital labour platforms, has caused the global economies to introduce fifth-generation connectivity to allow for ‘awesome connectivity experience’, the media reports. As stated by Eben Albertyn, Chief Technology Officer at VodafoneZiggo: “The network of the future is already being built as we speak. 5G is an important part of that. The speed of technological developments that bring about countless new, smart opportunities enriching our lives is unprecedented.

“And this is not an overstatement. 5G networks will affect the way businesses operate; help us build more connected cities, smarter vehicles; boost gaming capabilities, help live streams, augment the way we communicate; and even push the possibilities of virtual reality and augmented reality.”

According to CNN, much of the hype surrounding 5G centres around three major takeaways: faster connections, faster speeds, and faster access to the cloud. And when we say fast, we mean it. 5G will make 4G seem almost old-fashioned. Next-generation smart homes, manufacturing facilities run by robots, smart hospitals, farmers, and virtual reality systems will all utilise this zero-latency and expanded bandwidth. Information will be processed at breakneck speeds.

Internet of things (IoT) is another buzzword that you are sure to have heard in the past few years. It is an ecosystem that consists of web-enabled smart devices that use embedded processors, sensors and communication hardware to collect, send and act on data they acquire from their environments.

The IoT will bring forth more interconnected cities, places driven by real-time data. The cities will help autonomous vehicles communicate with people’s smart devices, and their smart devices will be connected to their homes, and their homes will be connected to the rest of the city, using real-time data to improve the quality of life for its residents.

We commenced with the first-generation (1G) wireless allowing us to talk by giving us voice. Then the second generation (2G) also allowed us to send out text messages by added text. 2.5 G allowed for data services and third generation (3G) provided us with Internet experience later enabling basic mobile computing and app experience with the 3.5G. Then came the fourth generation (4G), offering us awesome higher speeds and zillions of apps to help us work and play while using our phones. With the 4G LTE, we experienced double data speed.

Research has it that the fifth generation (5G) will allow the floodgates to be open for downloading speeds of one gigabit per second, or more than 10 times connectivity. Movies will download in seconds, YouTube clips instantly. It’s obvious we will migrate to sixth generation in no time. According to CNBC, China has officially launched research and development work for its 6G mobile networks. The country only just turned on its 5G networks earlier in November 2019, ahead of an initial 2020 schedule. To be clear, 5G is still in its infancy with most people around the world still being on 4G networks.

As interesting as it may sound, the unemployment figures will be very massive. Just inferring from this coronavirus pandemic, 6.6 million people in America have already filed for unemployment benefits. According to BBC News, the number as at May 7, 2020 stands at 33.3 million as put forward by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. In Ghana, Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey – the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) boss – is quoted as saying over two million Ghanaians may lose their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Can these projected 2 million Ghanaians also be able to file for unemployment benefits? The HR Associations in Ghana, SHRM Ghana Forum and IHRMP, should be making plans to push for changes in the country’s laws and advocate for employee-friendly policies as a united front.

Are there any 5G health risks to talk about?

5G arises as a result of the extremely high frequency (millimetre ware) that it uses, which lies between 30Ghz to 300GHz. Due to the high-frequency characteristics, the waves do not travel vast distances like 4G. Hence, antennae must be erected closer to each other to provide clear 5G reception. We are not talking about a few more antennas, but a lot more; exponentially moreThis is where the danger begins.

Perhaps 5G can control everything and anything. In having an awesome higher speed downloading and Internet connectivity, we have to harmonise both low and medium with high wave to attain a millimetre wave bandwidth opportunity to harness this experience. In having everything and anything connected, perhaps human beings can be connected as well to enable a complete awesome experience.

Several conspiracy theories are being discussed – with introduction of the New World Order to be channelled through advancements such as the concept of ‘Internet of things’ embracing the 5G technology; and secondly unleashing a de-population agenda through the introduction of pandemics such as the coronavirus, propagating fear and panic to call for the introduction of a vaccine and the nano human implant; then thirdly through food. Its common knowledge Genetically Modified Food (GMO) foods are everywhere around us now. More research is being conducted to ascertain the truth or fallacy of these alleged conspiracy theories.  What prompting does this offer us for the future of work? It appears the projected 2 years average for COVID-19 to disappear is now reviewed. Let’s embrace ourselves: coronavirus could be around for longer than we thought, as put forward by experts. The virus could ebb and flow with the seasons but may not disappear, becoming another illness in the sea of seasonal flus and colds.

More jobs will be lost to automation and robotics, though most jobs will still be in high demand as mentioned in previous articles on the subject. This coronavirus pandemic has in a way offered the world economies a dress rehearsal of what quick adjustments the future of work will present to the world. As Human Resource Professionals, this paradigm shift should cause us to think policy, adjustment, amendment, re-introduction and review.

What kind of clauses and phases will be introduced into our health insurance contract as amendments to what was previously known? Will employees now be covered to work from both home and the office? Twitter as a company has announced, employees will be allowed to work from home forever. As more and more organisations now welcome the idea, let’s remind ourselves of some radiation effects:

Radiation Effects

  • Exposure to very high levels of radiation can cause acute health effects such as skin burns and acute radiation syndrome (‘radiation sickness’). It can also result in long-term health effects such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, “Scientists have been studying the effects of radiation for over 100 years, so we know quite a bit about how radiation interacts with living tissue and its effect on the body.

“Because we can measure radiation and because we understand its health effects, we can work safely around it. As with other types of toxins, ‘the dose makes the poison’. We know that radiation at high doses can cause cancer, could harm unborn babies, and can even lead to death. Children and young adults are more sensitive to the effects of radiation.

If that be the case, it means our review of policies should embrace all these possible scenarios as more and more employees will be working from home – using equipment and gadgets that expose the family and children to radiation effects. A very high level of radiation exposure delivered over a short period of time can cause symptoms such as nausea and vomiting within hours, and can sometimes result in death. This is known as acute radiation syndrome, commonly known as ‘radiation sickness’.”

How Radiation affects our bodies

  • Radiation can damage the DNA in our cells.
  • High doses of radiation can cause Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) or Cutaneous Radiation Injuries (CRI).
  • High doses of radiation can also lead to cancer later in life. A number of workman compensation insurance packages exclude the treatment of cancer, and many others also offer limited coverage. Its time for HR to advocate a review, with the use of predictive analysis into the future to help safeguard employee welfare and health.
  • According to medical news today, depending on the dose, the effects of radiation can be mild or life-threatening. There is no cure, but barriers can prevent exposure and some medications may remove some radiation from the body. Anyone who believes they have been exposed to radiation should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

In view of the above highlighted points, HR practitioners must understand that technology is here to stay, and will get even better and many more people may lose their job if they don’t adjust. Technology is simplifying everything, and it is time to come up with policies for companies in Ghana to adapt to the change and ensure employees also catch up with the changes. Failure to understand and adjust will lead to them being redundant, and they will only have themselves to blame.

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