International Workers Day, also known as Labour Day, is celebrated on May 1 every year. The day has been set aside to celebrate workers and is a holiday in many countries, including Ghana.
The day is in memory of a general strike for an eight-hour workday.
May Day has, therefore, perennially been used by workers to press home their demands and put across their grievances and challenges either in the economy or at their workplaces.
In Ghana, the social dialogue between the government and organised labour has made their relationship a win-win affair. Ghana is, perhaps, one of the few countries where organised labour collaborates with the government to organise a durbar and march past where workers express their views through placards.
Usually, the President addresses the national durbar, where he tries to outline the direction of the government on the economy, plans for creating decent jobs and ends by courting workers to give their best to increase productivity.
This year, President Nana Akufo-Addo urged workers to change their attitude to work by doing away with unproductive acts at the workplace.
While commending workers across the country for their hard work and commitment to work, the Daily Graphic also associates itself with the President’s condemnation of negative workplace attitudes such as arriving late at work, using office hours for private work but leaving in the middle of critical work, just because it is the official closing time.
We believe that such negative work attitudes have been with us for far too long and need to be discarded. The emerging and developed economies, as well as the Asian Tigers – who used to be Ghana’s peers in development – have all managed to go past us because of attitude; they put on the positive ones, work hard at them to improve their wellbeing. These days, in Ghana, working hard without asking for extra rewards is a rarity. If we must develop our economy and the individual, this attitude must end.
However, we also think that the government and managers of the economy ought to provide the right infrastructure and logistics needed to crank up productivity among workers. Public transportation is a major issue that needs to be tackled by the central government in collaboration with the private sector, as the sector impacts so much on productivity.
The Daily Graphic also shares in the view of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) that joblessness among the youth is a great challenge the country faces. The issue is hydra-headed and solutions should be found as a matter of urgency.
We are hoping, however, that some of the initiatives the government has started, such as Planting for Food and Jobs and the One district, One factory policies, should provide some opportunities for the youth.
We also consider the TUC’s call to sustain the industrial peace, while providing logistical support for labour institutions as worthy calls that should be heeded in good faith. The Daily Graphic believes that the country’s labour law is one of the best in Africa and when implemented properly can help deal with issues as crucial as low wages and pensions, abuse of workers’ rights, as well as occupational health and safety of workers which organised labour is also worried about.