Labour Standards Violations In Ghana Identified
Core labour standards violations in Ghana identified in new ITUC report
Brussels, 28 January 2008 (ITUC Online) - The ITUC released a new report today on core labour standards in Ghana. This report coincides with the country's trade policy review at the WTO and highlights that in many respects, the national legislation in force in the country is in breach of the ILO core labour conventions that the country has ratified and that are legally binding.
The report shows that many workers and professions are excluded from the right to organise and join a freely chosen trade union. Likewise, the right to strike is limited and restricted in practice. These shortcomings have come to the attention of the ILO's supervisory organs, which have urged the government of Ghana to amend its legislation to comply with the international labour standards that the country has ratified.
Ghana has not ratified the main ILO Convention on child labour, Convention 138 (the Minimum Age Convention, 1973). The most recent ILO survey found a total of 1.27 million child workers in Ghana including in agriculture, domestic work, portering, mining, quarrying and collecting fares. The fishing industry on Lake Volta has a high number of child labourers engaged in potentially hazardous work, such as diving into deep waters to untangle fishing nets caught on submerged tree roots. According to a study from Ghana's Cocoa Board, child labour is common in cocoa cultivation; children's work includes dangerous tasks such as carrying heavy loads for long distances, using machetes for harvesting, or spraying trees with pesticide. The ITUC report calls for further government initiatives to enforce the laws against child labour adequately.
The legislation against trafficking of people is enforced poorly and children and women, in particular, are exposed to forced labour practices. Boys are trafficked to work in small mines and fishing communities, and girls to work as domestic helpers and assistants.
Despite the fact that the national legislation in force bans discrimination, the practice is common in Ghana. There is no law against sexual harassment at the workplace.
The report ends with a summary of recommendations and conclusions addressed to the government of Ghana if it is to redress its non compliance with the ILO core labour standards and implement effective policies that could tackle many major problems the country is confronted today.
The full ITUC report is available at : http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/TPR_Ghana.final.pdf
The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates. Website: http://www.ituc-csi.org