The Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Baba Jamal has said that the ministry would deal firmly with multinational companies who violate the right of workers in Ghana.
He said companies must uphold global standards in the protection of the rights of employees.
The minister was speaking at the 12th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Maritime and Dockworkers’ Union (MDU) of Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Friday at Winneba on the theme;“The Role of Maritime Workers in National Development”.
He said that maritime business depends on casual and contract work, which provides an opening for some employers to exploit workers who do not have job security.
Mr. Jamal noted that laws provided a remedy when the rights of casual workers were abused, adding “various agencies have been established by the law to make it possible that actors in the industry play according to what is dictated by the law.”
He added that the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice was established to ensure that workers, whose rights were abused at work seek remedy with the commission.
The Deputy Minister added other abuses would be addressed by the Labour Department of the ministry and called on the Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDU) to work with his ministry in ensuring that maritime workers were committed to decent work principles in the maritime industry.
Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, General Secretary of MDU said that the maritime subsector accounted for nearly 90 per cent of global transport requirements adding that it reflected in the national economy where about 90 per cent of Ghana’s foreign trade was carried by sea.
He said that redundancies and increasing dependence on contract workers have created job security among maritime employees and these factors have weakened the union.
Mr. Owusu-Koranteng added that between 2012 and 2016, the MDU had lost about 2,000 members through redundancies.
The General Secretary said that it was important to develop strong provisions in the labour laws to prevent employers from turning permanent jobs into casual and contract jobs.
He appealed to government to consider a tax exemption on overtime work in the maritime sector in recognition of the troubles workers in the sector go through in keeping the sector productive and efficient.
By Emelia Enyonam Kuleke