The issue of labour agitations has been raised by IntelAfrique Limited, a political advisory firm as its public order and safety assessment has revealed that 2021 had more worker agitations.
According to the firm, the underlying factor which causes the workers to be aggrieved is unfavourable remuneration and poor condition of service.
IntelAfrique has thus advised relevant authorities in the labour space to focus on creating an enabling working environment to foster proper human capital development and economic growth to quell the frequency and intensity of such incidents.
The firm’s report indicated that a total of 32 threats and actual incidents of public order were highlighted.
Out of these, 11 were demonstrations, 16 strikes, four protests and one riot.
The reasons for the various demonstrations were broadly classified into three, as follows:
1. Salary and conditions of service – over half (18 out of 32, representing 56.25%) of incidents of public disorder were as a result of unfavourable salaries and poor conditions of service.
2. Socio-economic – 1 out of every 5 incidents of public disorder in Ghana is as a result of socio-economic reasons (i.e. 18.75%)
3. Socio-political – 1 out of every 4 incidents of public disorder in Ghana was as a result of socio-political reasons (8 cases, representing 25%.
Intel Afrique has been proposing the following recommendations below:
1. The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission should proactively solve all challenges associated with the Single Spine Salary Structure to measure output and guide remuneration packages in accordance with the tenets of the Labour Act 651, Section 98.
2. The National Labour Commission (NLC)’s role in mediating grievances of labour groups or public sector workers is more reactionary than proactive. Considering the many grievances at hand, there is the need for the Commission to show more “concern” and gradually bring the various aggrieved labour groups to the table and forge a way forward for a lasting solution, than wait for things to blow up before negotiating with them.
3. Crowd control by the Police has been topical in Ghana for a very long time. Most often, when public law and order degenerate into disorder, the Police are found wanting with either high-handed measures or ineffective crowd control methods. The Ejura incident is an example where poor crowd control by the Police-cum-Army detachment led to the loss of lives. It is expedient for the Police force mandated to maintain law and order to beef up its efforts in proper policing and crowd control more coherently and expertly.
4. Pre-demonstration engagement between the police and demonstrators has not been the best, as they tend to provoke more anger among demonstrators. Approval for demonstrations, routes to use for demonstrations, dates for demonstrations, among others, have been a bone of contention between the police and demonstrators. There is the need to ensure a common template of engagement by the police for equal treatment.
5. Development partners should increase their support to the Formed Police Unit with enhanced and increased capacity building in crowd and riot control and equipment.