Pay workers appropriately to prevent corruption – GUTA
Ahead of the implementation of the 2020 National Daily Minimum Wage (NDMW), the Ghana Union of Trades Association(GUTA), the umbrella organization for trade unions activities in Ghana has warned there could be a rise in corruption if workers are not paid enough.
The 2020 National Daily Minimum Wage (NDMW) has gone up 11 percentage points over the 2019 figure of GHC 10.65 to GHC11.82, effective January 1, 2020.
Speaking on the living standards of Ghanaian workers, the General Secretary of the Greater Accra Regional branch of GUTA, Nana Poku charged the different workers unions across the country to join forces with similar unions, in order to negotiate better remuneration for their members.
“For now what workers are getting, they can’t live on that and that leads to corruption. We’re all currently talking about a lot of corruption in Ghana. To help mitigate that we the unions need to band together to negotiate for better salaries for our people.” he said.
Several stakeholders on labour and employment issues over the period have warned that the plight of Ghanaian workers would worsen if the different worker’s unions in the country do not merge to strengthen their ability to negotiate.
One of the main reasons for the call for mergers is the increasing change in the status of Ghanaian workers in the private sector from permanent staff to contract or casual workers.
The GUTA has in recent times warned that such moves infringe on the country’s labour laws, hence must be stopped.
Speaking on the information of work in Ghana, Mr Poku, called on Trade Unions to band together to bring an immediate end to the phenomena.
“What has been achieved with regard to improvement in work has been because of the work of organized labour. Unfortunately, there’s a push for informal forms of work like casual work, and now the designation of workers as contractors. This is a push towards informalisation.” he said.
He further bemoaned the negative impact of a divisive front on the work of unions. “Under GUTA, there are multiple unions in the same sector and this leads to some form of division, a situation that government and employers take advantage of to the detriment of workers, adding that, it is imperative that local unions in Ghana are able to go beyond strong negotiations.
“We want to see the unions speak up on issues that affect not just workers but all Ghanaians like the management of the natural resources of Ghana”.
Call for mergers
The General Secretary of the General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) Edward Kareweh recently said, the merging with other unions can help deal with issues of inhumane working conditions, poor prices among others in the Agricultural sector and improve the sector’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Merging of unions in my sector will not just help in addressing the issues the plague us, it will also lead to better productivity and help in supporting the government’s industrialization agenda.”