The Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, has proposed the establishment of a social partnership framework for Ghana to foster industrial harmony and ensure high productivity.
According to him, such a framework will also ensure increased investment, growth and prosperity for all Ghanaians regardless of their location and social status.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Human Resource and industrial Relation (HR+IR) Perspectives Magazine, in Accra last Thursday, Dr Baah said; “As workers’ organisations, we envision a Ghanaian society, where collectively, we create opportunities that enhance the ability of every Ghanaian to enjoy a fulfilling life by contributing meaningfully to their own development and the development of Ghana according to each person’s abilities and capabilities, through co-operation and strong partnerships with others in the society.”
The event on the theme, “The Case for Industrial Relations Partnership as a Viable Option for Growth, Industrial Harmony and Increased Investment for a Shared Future,” served as a forum to solicit inputs from stakeholders to a new thinking in human resource and industrial relations practice with key focus on finding viable options for growth and increased investment for a shared future in the sector.
According to Dr Baah, the traditional partners are the government (as the political authority and the largest employer in the formal economy), led by the President or Vice-President, who will chair the meetings, employers, led by the Ghana Employers Association and organised labour, led by the TUC.
He said the success or failure of such partnerships depended to a very large extent on the degree of commitment of the government which, therefore, had a very important role to play.
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“For instance, it is the responsibility of the government to establish a social partnership secretariat which will coordinate its activities. The secretariat must be fully resourced with high level of expertise and equipment and must have adequate financial resources to recruit experts in various fields,” he said.
Dr Baah indicated that the issues to be discussed and agreed upon must not be limited but include all issues that are considered relevant to the social and economic development of the country.
Some include; economic growth, employment and unemployment; inflation and high / rising cost of living; the government revenue and taxation (direct and indirect taxes); and national debt.
He said the trade union movement was not only interested in the outcome of development but equally interested in the process that allowed individuals to fully express their potentials.
“We do not accept the neo-liberal ideology of unbridled competition as a means of tapping human potentials. Rather, we believe that co-operation with one another is the ultimate instrument for tapping the individual human potentials towards the achievement of our aspirations and societal goals,” he stated.
An Industrial Relations Expert, Ruskin College-Oxford University, Mr Denis Gregory, said the idea of a partnership was to take a dialogue-based approach to resolving employment relations issues and problems before they escalated.
He indicated that a partnership must be balanced to target both economic and social growth, and that ensuring industrial harmony hinged on partnership, learning and knowledge.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Group, Mr Samuel Adetola, said the meeting kick started a series to promote deeper thinking in industrial relations practice.
He said there would be ‘the people’s challenge summit’ in October this year where stakeholders would converge and assess to see if institutions in the industrial relations sector have performed as expected.