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Parliament accused of breaking labour laws; dragged before commission

Parliament in sessionThe Ghana Federation of Labour has dragged the House of Parliament to the Labour Commission over accusations of flouting labour regulations. Workers of the august House say the leadership is preventing them from joining the Financial Business and Services Employees Union.

In an interview with Joy News’ Sammy Darko, the Secretary General of the Ghana Federation of Labour, Abraham Koomson, who is leading the campaign said the actions by the leadership is illegal, saying, there is no law preventing parliamentary staffers from joining unions of their choice. Mr. Koomson cited a December 22, 2008 letter signed by the clerk of the house, in which all parliamentary workers have been asked to form an internal union, instead of joining an external union of their choice.

He described the action as an affront to their labour rights. He said under the labour act, it is only the security services which are outlawed from unionizing and embarking on strikes, saying Parliament does not fall under those institutions nor under essential services.

Mr Koomson said they will resist attempts by the leadership to dictate to them which labour union they have to join. But Jones Kugblenu Director of Public Affairs of Parliament denies infringing on the rights of the workers.

“I don’t think any body is preventing any worker from joining any union,” saying the constitution and the labour laws are clear on what is to be done. He said for purposes of “effective management” he had requested workers who are interested in unionizing to come together but none of them showed any interest.

He explained it was the intention of the leadership to have a unionized structure in place before members can affiliate with external ones. A labour consultant, Austin Gamey, who corroborated the assertions of Mr. Kugblenu said the action by the Federation is unnecessary.

According to him, the leadership of parliament had even consulted him in 2008 seeking guidance on how a union could be formed. It is not true that the leadership of the house is preventing workers from unionizing, he said.  He called for an internal resolution to the problem.

Source modernghana.com

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