The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has underscored the need for the government to create decent jobs to move the nation out of poverty.
“We need jobs to take us out of poverty. We can get out of poverty only when we manage to create decent jobs for our people,” the Secretary-General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, stressed.
Speaking at the 2017 National May Day Forum in Accra yesterday, Dr Baah said figures from the Ghana Statistical Service indicated that only about 1.5 million out of the 13 million Ghanaians, between the ages of 15 and 60 years were engagged in what could be termed as decent jobs.
The forum was organised by the TUC, with funding from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German non-governmental organisation (NGO), ahead of the May Day celebration on May 1, next Monday.
Dr Baah stated that 10 million out of the working population of 13 million were enggaged in what he described as “bad” jobs, while the remaining 1.5 million were jobless.
“When I say bad jobs, I mean they are not sure about their salaries, when they are going to be paid; even when they are sick they have to go to work or they still could be fired. These are jobs that do not guarantee the future of a person. These are no jobs that will guarantee your social security when you retire at the age of 60,” he indicated.
The Secretary-General further observed that the job deficit in the country was huge, adding that many Ghanaians were earning low wages, while others were not entitled to annual, sick or maternity leave with pay and that “in some employments, when you are pregnant you are out.”
Dr Baah also indicated that there were many workplaces in the country where workers could not form labour unions thus denying them of speaking out.
According to him, “these are the issues we all have to deal with to ensure that Ghanaians earn decent jobs.”
The Resident Director of the FES, Mr Fritz Kopsieker, said the creation of decent jobs could be achieved through industrialisation.
He, however, deplored the kind of industrialisation that destroys the environment and rather called for a “green industrialisation for decent jobs.”
Mr Kopsieker advised trade unions to focus on the interest and welfare of its members.
The Director of Labour Policy Institute, Mr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, defined decent work according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as productive work in which rights were protected, where there was adequate social protection and fair income.
Mr Otoo identified four main pillars of decent work as opportunities for employment and income, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue.
He said the country had large decent work deficits and attributed the problem to the fact that the economy was growing “but not creating employment in their right quantities and qualities.”
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