The Impact of WageIndicator Partner Activities in Ghana

By Charles Asante-Bempong, GEA, Africapay.org/Ghana manager and Mary Karimu, GTUC, Mywage,org/Ghana manager

Introduction

The Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) and the Trades Union Congress of Ghana (TUC-Ghana) continued with the implementation and coordination of activities under the WageIndicator Project. The activities include: holding fact finding debates, management of Mywage and Africapay websites, collection, analysis and mediation sessions of minimum wage compliance, collection of CBAs and the holding of National Stakeholder forum.

Mywage.org/Ghana website has received over 66,000 visits in a year while the africapay.org/Ghana has also received over 17,700 visits (both figures from 2014). The holding of National Stakeholder meetings has enabled issues affecting workers to be brought to the fore for the consideration of the National Tripartite Committee. The collection of CBAs has enabled countries to compare CBAs for improvement in their development of CBAs. Assistance has also been given to people who send complaints and questions online.

This report covers activities implemented from 2014 to date in terms of at outcomes and impacts and suggests improvement of the activities implemented thus far.

Combination of Debates and Minimum Wage Complaint Forms

One of the key activities of the project in Ghana is the organization of fact finding debates and circulation, collection, analysis and solutions on Minimum Wage and other working conditions. In 2013 and 2014 about 40 debates have been conducted between TUC-Ghana, GEA, and GFL in which these institutions have  actively participated.

The debates covered both formal and informal sectors in the fields of agriculture, banking, telecommunication, aviation, hospitality, public and private schools, physically challenged workers, market women, traders, artisans, garages, catteries, tailors and dressmakers, hair dressers and beauticians, wood workers, rural women famers, dockworkers and the media. The debates were held across the 10 administrative regions of Ghana.

Complaint forms were also distributed across these regions, in 2014 about 2000,  of which about 1500 could be collected for analysis. From the complaint forms collected 15 were cases which needed immediate solution. Five of these cases were in the petroleum sector and the others were resolved through informal discussions and negotiations with management and executives of associations.

Distribution and collection of the compliance forms is done with the help of field assistants. Identifying key issues for analysis and resolution is done with the assistance of union executives, association executives and management. In 2015 it is expected that more compliance sessions would be held in the private sector.

Key Issues 

The various sectoral groups are organised through their executives and a check list which contains information on decent work (wages & salaries, occupational health and safety, leave administration, social security, employment contract, maternity protection etc.) is used as a guide. The check list is analysed and the key issues are prioritised for discussions among the moderators and participants.

Some of the key issues that have emerged include:

  • Leave administration (annual leave)
  • Occupation  health and safety
  • Social security (informal sector workers)
  • Wages and salaries (private and informal sector workers)
  • maternity protection at work (formal and informal sector)

 

Impact of WageIndicator Project Activities in Ghana  

The following summarises its impact.

  • The debates have enabled the two institutions (GEA/TUC) to advise and educate employees on their rights and responsibilities as enshrine in the Labor Act;
  • The debates have also offered a platform for workers to express their concerns in relation to their jobs;
  • The debates have further enhanced workplace cooperation;
  • The debates have also deepened dialogue between GEA, TUC and GFL and their constituents;
  • For the informal workers, the debates have given them a platform to share their concerns especially with local authorities;
  • The outcomes of the debates have served as a good source of information for stakeholders in assisting their members;
  • The debates have also served as a source of information for engagements with the media;
  • Information gathered through the compliant forms have served as a database for stakeholders and as guide for decision making and policy discussions;
  • The compliance sessions have been used to resolve labor-management disputes.

 

What We Should Improve

There is the need to:

  • actively involve the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations in the debates;
  • organise more debates in the regions;
  • organise more sectoral debates;
  • empirically assess the impact of the debates and compliance outcomes on the participants;
  • improve online compliance surveys; 
  • increase funding for expansion of project activities.

 

The GEA and TUC-Ghana will continue with fact finding debates, encourage more compliance sessions, with management of websites, and encourage more media campaigns.

Institutional Co-operation Remains Strong

The GEA and TUC-Ghana have cooperated in many areas over the years and the cooperation between the two bodies has been strong and keeps improving. Currently - apart from the WageIndicator project - the two institutions are closely working together on other projects all aimed at improving the working conditions of workers and also to promote productivity. These include a review of the draft National Occupational, Safety and Health Policy and joint projects on Formalizing the Informal Economy and Entrepreneurship Development.

At the leadership level the two bodies have a bipartite arrangement where they meet regularly to discuss issues of mutual concern. Even at the tripartite level the two bodies cooperate very well. Examples include: fixing of the Minimum Wage, discussions on the single spine salary and the national pensions scheme.

The mutual cooperation between the two bodies has brought about a relatively peaceful industrial relations atmosphere. The cooperation between the two bodies has also boosted the image of Ghana at the International Labor Organization where currently the two serve on the Governing Board of the ILO.


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