MARITIME and dockworkers from West and Central Africa are meeting in Accra at a workshop to build their capacities to enhance efficiency in the maritime industry in their respective countries.
The four-day training seminar is being organised by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) sub-regional office for francophone Africa in collaboration with the Ghana Maritime and Dockworkers Union.
It is under the theme: “Building unions capacities to meet the unions’ challenges in ports in West and Central Africa”.
A total of 22 participants, resource persons and facilitators are attending the workshop. Also in attendance are Ms Sharon James, Secretary of Dockworkers’ Section and Dr. Asif Altaf, the HIV and AIDS Global Programme Officer both from the London Office of the ITF.
Among thematic areas being discussed are reducing turn-around time at the ports, cost effective ways in handling port facilities for a greater output, consultation and negotiation of port development plans as well as the need for government and employers to respect labour rights, access to work places and freedom of association and collective bargaining agreements.
In addition, the participants would discuss HIV and AIDS issues in the transport sector, which is believed to be the vulnerable sector responsible for spread of the pandemic.
Mr. Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, General Secretary of the Ghana Maritime and Dockworkers Union and current chairman of the ITF, stressed the need for port authorities to allow skilled dockworkers to unionise in an effort to ensure a safe and healthy working environment.
He called on governments to adopt global standards on container handling and insist that those standards were adopted into domestic legislations.
The Deputy Transport Minister, Mrs. Joyce Bawa Mogtari, said the ministry was aware of the many challenges confronting dockworkers including inadequate capacity in the country and assured that the maritime sector would be given the necessary attention to make Ghana’s ports a healthy environment for dockworkers.
She commended the ITF for the opportunity to host the workshop in Ghana and prayed for its continued presence in the sub-region.
Mr. Kofi Asamoah, the General Secretary of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) graced the occasion.
By Times Reporter