By Belinda Ayamgha, GNA
Accra, July 17, GNA – The National Labour Commission (NLC) has called on government to fully support the Commission to carry out its mandate of helping to settle industrial disputes in Ghana.
According to Mr. Ofosu Asamoah, Executive Secretary of the NLC, the Commission was not well positioned to deliver its mandate due to several constraints, particularly budgetary challenges.
The Commission was solely funded by government but rarely got any monies allocated to them in the budget.
Due to lack of funds, the Commission had a huge backlog of cases, which it had worked on and ready for court but it had not been able to file with the courts.
Mr. Asamoah, made the statements at the Organised Labour Forum on the Economy, organized by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Ghana.
It is on the theme: “Industrial Dispute Resolution: The Law and the Practice”.
He said the Commission could not even afford to pay the filing fees to take these cases to court as it did not have funds and was also not allowed by the Law establishing it to generate any funds.
He said although some petitioners agreed to pay the filing fees, it was the duty of the Commission to pay such fees for the filing of cases.
The NLC also faced challenges such as inadequate human resources and the lack of regional offices, which compelled workers to come to Accra to have their cases addressed, coupled with the lack of material resources to aid their work.
Dr Yaw Baah, Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress said the current situation of the NLC was unacceptable.
He said the NLC should be allowed to generate income on its own to help address some of the issues and also engage the services of professionals that it deemed fit to carry out its mandate.
“At a point, the backlog was over 1000 cases, and as they say justice delayed is justice denied, and this is what workers face. Wherever there are human beings working, there will be disputes, the important thing is that we have the institution to deal with it,” he said.
He said organized labour, after the interactions, will see how it could help them to address some of the issues, through advocacy.
Mr. Andy Asamoah, Chairman of the NLC, said the commission, in the two months of its work so far, had realized that there was a lot of work to be done, thus the NLC had increased its sitting days to be able to clear the backlog of cases.
It will also work to operationalize its Takoradi office to help reduce the pressure on the Accra office and also on workers, adding that, it was important for other regional offices to be opened so that workers do not have to come all the way to Accra.
Mr. Asamoah also observed that most of the cases that came to the Commission could have been resolved amicably and urged Unions to approach issues with the intention of finding solutions.
He said the Commission also needed to strengthen its mediators and arbitrators by training more of them.
Participants at the forum during discussions, urged the new Commission to show independence in its work in order to inspire confidence in the commission, especially with cases that involved government and its agencies and also in demanding that government fulfilled its obligations to the NLC.