In anticipation of a new law that will back governments resolve not to pay striking workers labour Minister Haruna Iddrisu is advising Labour to consider setting up a fund to support workers when they embark on such actions.
Under the law striking workers who exceed 72 hours ceiling on strikes would forfeit their pay and Haruna believes a striking fund by labour will be an alternative.
About five labour unions went on strikes this year to seek redress of a wide range of issues including pensions, salary arrears and a documented condition of services.Speaking on the way forward to addressing labour unrest and agitations at a forum in Accra on Tuesday, Haruna Iddrisu gave a strong indication that hence forth, the government will not be paying striking workers thus his suggestion.
“We are encouraging labour unions particularly those within the public sector of Ghana to begin to develop strike funds and renew and revise their policies on strike and they should be ready to pay whilst they continue on strike,” he said.
According to the Labour Minister, this is because government is unable to absolve the obligation of paying the striking workers whilst they are on strike.
He reiterated that “we definitely as a government will make major policy review and a review of our legislation and am therefore urging the trade union led by comrade Kofi Asamoah and many others to begin to revise your existing rules. If you want to be on strike maybe for some minimum of 48 to 72 hours we should see you back to work because that affect productivity and labour does have a responsibility for enhanced productivity.”
The Minister also charged labour unions to always use dialogue rather than strikes in addressing their concerns.
He urged labour to see as imperative the “cordial and harmonious relationship with government” to have their grievances addressed.
“…Gone are the days when dialogue is not a friendly path and both workers and government enjoy conflict and agitations. In order that we address the mirage of problems that face us, whether it’s dealing with issues of working environment, better negotiations of minimum wage and other related issues, safety health of workers, you naturally must be dialoging with the employer in order to create a congenial atmosphere and environment for the working people of our country. The inherent suspicion and mistrust that have always continued between government and the labour unions must end,” he added.