The recent phenomenon of hiring casual labour as against permanent employment has been found to be a major threat to employment and decent work outlined in Goal 8 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Goal 8 seeks to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
But Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Dr Yaw Baah, said the situation has led to the few with decent jobs constantly being threatened of redundancies to be replaced with casual workers in a country where the greatest challenge is employment creation.
He made the disclosure at the 2018 Organized Labour May Day Forum on the theme: Sustainable Development Goals and Decent Work: The Role of Social Partners.
“About 13 million Ghanaians are eligible to work. Out of this, just about 2 million of us have something you can call decent. So instead of creating more decent work, even those who have decent work are being deprived of their decency.”
He said Ghanaians are thus afraid in their own country; he encouraged workers to eschew any fear as organized labour works to address the issue.
Citing examples to illustrate his point, the Secretary-General said in 2015 AngloGold Ashanti sacked 5000 workers; while in March 2017, Goldfields Ghana sacked 2000 workers.
He said whereas in the banking sector currently, people are being replaced with machines, new stevedore companies in the maritime industry are turning to casual workers.
Dr Baah called on all social partners including employers, trade unions, and government to come to the reality ‘a Ghana beyond aid’ is achievable through partnership.
“It is time for our government to know that the solution for this country does not lie in IMF”, he emphasised.
Resident Director of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES-Ghana) partners to TUC, Mr Fritz Kopsieker, said even though the economy and private sector are both critical for development of a nation, “human beings can never be reduced to a factor of production.”
He explained that humans and their development must be the end, not the means of all actions of the state.
Kopsieker called for the strengthening of the trade unions to fight for the interest of the members considering the challenges unions face in negotiating for the interest of workers.
By Godfred Tawiah Gogo