Labour Rights Institute (LRI)Accra, April 29, GNA – The Labour Rights Institute (LRI), a labour rights advocacy body, on Sunday called for the constitutional protection of employment for public sector workers to be extended to non-unionised workers in the private sector “over whose heads constantly hangs the sword of arbitrary termination of employment”.

The Institute also called for the Factory Inspectorate and Labour Departments to be well staffed and equipped to ensure that workers worked in dignity and under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions.

In a statement to mark May Day, which falls on Tuesday, the Institute said many non-unionised workers in the private sector lacked employment security as their employment could be terminated with only a period of notice unlike public servants who could be terminated only with just cause as provided for under Article 191 of the 1992 Constitution.

“The plight of this category of workers has been made worse by decisions of the superior courts which still regard employment relations as between that of a master and servant whose conditions of employment are subject to the whims and caprices of the master,” LRI said in the statement signed by signed by its Executive Coordinator, Mr. Mohammed Affum.

LRI said it was urgent for organized labour and other civil society organizations to put pressure on government to ratify ILO Convention 158 on employment security and domesticate its provisions that allowed termination of employment by the employer to be based on just cause being proven misconduct, proven incompetence or operational requirements.

The Institute expressed concern about the inability of the Labour Department and Factories Inspectorate Division to carry out their mandates of ensuring that the rights of workers, including the right to work under safe and health conditions were observed.

“The failure to resource these important departments in labour administration by government has exposed a lot of workers to very high risks to their health and safety during and in the course of their employment.”

Without employment security and working under unsatisfactory, unsafe and unhealthy conditions, the Institute said, most Ghanaian workers laboured under a constant cloud of fear and uncertainty.

“This disposes them to the conclusion that they are not benefitting from the dividends of economic development to which they contribute their labour.”

The Institute urged the Ministry of Employment to investigate the operations of recruitment and outsourcing companies whose workers were denied their labour rights, including the right to form or join trade unions and equal pay for equal work of the same value.

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