Labour Ministry commits to ILO decent work declaration

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Participants at the meeting.

The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) has expressed commitment to the International Labour Commission’s (ILO) instrument that provides guidance to enterprises on social policy, inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices.

As a result, the ministry has announced plans of engaging with other relevant stakeholders towards the development of businesses with the ability to grow and create more jobs.

The Director in-charge of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at MELR, Mrs Emma Ofori Agyeman, who made this known at meeting between ILO and the ministry in Accra on October 15, observed that MELR would ensure that enterprises operating in the country mainstream the ILO declaration on decent work.

“We play a coordination role and so what we are doing is to create awareness for these enterprises to know their responsibilities and guide them to mainstream some of these standards into their business growth agenda,” she said.

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The MNE declaration

The Tripartite declaration of principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy (MNE Declaration) is the ILO instrument that provides direct guidance to enterprises on social policy and inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices.

The aim of this declaration is to encourage the positive contribution which multinational enterprises can make to economic and social progress and the realisation of decent work for all; and to minimise and resolve the difficulties to which their various operations may give rise.

Its recommendations rooted in international labour standards reflect good practices for all enterprises but also highlight the role of government in stimulating good corporate behaviour as well as the crucial role of social dialogue.

The training is organised under the Trade for Decent Work project sponsored by the European Union (EU).

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Understanding the declaration

Mrs Agyeman stated that the meeting created a platform for the ILO to engage ministries, departments and agencies especially those in the productive sectors to understand the ILO standards.

This, she said, would help them to understand declarations and develop strategies for it to be applied for business growth.

“As a ministry we are interested in business growth; and so, if there are good businesses in the country that follow standards they grow and create more jobs,” she said.

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International labour standards

The National Project Coordinator in-charge of Trade for Decent Work Project at the ILO, Ghana, Ms Akua Ofori-Asumadu, observed that the declaration seeks to uphold international labour standards in enterprises not only multinationals but also national enterprises.

She said that the declaration also seeks to highlight corporate social responsibility and promote social dialogue.

This, she said, meant that enterprises needed to create an environment where employees engage each other to promote decent work.

“And when we say decent work, we are talking about international labour standards with regards to how an employee is projected at the workplace.

“This includes equal pay for equal work, same working hours, elimination of child labour, and gender parity.”