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Gov’t must outlaw strikes, they're a crime against humanity – NDC group
From: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Isaac Essel          Published On: February 18, 2013, 16:33 GMT
 
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Gov’t must outlaw strikes, they're a crime against humanity – NDC group
Industrial actions are a crime against humanity and government must take all the necessary steps to criminalize the action and save the integrity of the nation, the Alliance for the Empowerment of NDC Constituency Branch Executives has advocated.

Group chairman Ebenezer Arkutu maintained in a statement to Myjoyonline.com that the group’s call came because the consequences of previous labour/industrial strikes over the years have been “disastrous and fatal.”

He therefore argued that, “labour/industrial strike is a crime and its tolerance is a stain on our collective conscience. Therefore, we must do whatever it takes to criminalize it by any means necessary to save lives and also to guarantee the stability of our country, Ghana.”

For instance, when health workers embark on strike, he said, “the dream of long life, good health and eternal happiness of individuals/families have been shattered on the table of labour/industrial strikes… women have lost that single pregnancy of a hope of having a child of their own, life of a promising daughter/son cut short, the loss of a caring father/mother, a wonderful grandmother/grandfather who would not be there to embrace their lovely grandchildren, the loss of a husband or a wife to name but a few.”

Mr Arkutu also dared both parties – government and labour unions – to be bold and terminate whatever contract they have entered into without malice or acrimony when efforts to resolve differences fail.

“When all negotiations, dialogues, persuasions amongst others fail in resolving labour disputes, government must be bold enough by law/ principle to dismiss or severe its working relationship with organized labour unions when labour conditions will no longer make it possible to guarantee continuous uninterrupted quality service delivery to the citizens/ the general public. Or not in the position to protect individual/family lives as well as to preserve the social order of the state.

“In the same light, organized labour unions by law/principle must equally be courageous to resign or proceed to court when labour conditions with government (their employer) will not put it in a position to guarantee continuous uninterrupted quality service to government (the employer) or not in a position to protect individual/family lives as well as to preserve the social order of the state.”


Below is the full statement



LABOUR/INDUSTRIAL STRIKE…IS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. PRINCIPLE MUST STAND!!


In a world of constitutional order, flourishing established independent institutions and rule of law, no individual or organized labour must be tolerated to resort to the use of labour strike as a means of seeking labour redress…instead the court, for it is a crime against humanity.

In recent times, the media is full of reports of threats of labour strike against government (as employer) by organized labour unions. First it was National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), followed by Ghana Medical Association (GMA), and now Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOPSA) are threatening to embark on a nationwide strike with the following warning “if our demands are not met by government (their employer)...”. Who next?

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA), indeed embarked on a nationwide strike and after meeting government, decided to suspend the strike but issued a statement and warned that ‘’if there is any lack of commitment on the part of FWSC representing government, to fully implement the ruling of NLC, the suspended road map will be reactivated without any further notice to any of the stakeholders’’; it said. Also to make matters worse, the General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) paid a courtesy call on the president at the Flagstaff House on Friday, 15/02/13… was reported by the media for saying to the president ‘’the congress is willing to help the government to succeed but will not tolerate any attempt to compromise the interest of workers in the country’’.

From the above statements, it is clearly evident that organized labour unions do not see government as its employer and also does not recognized that government and the organized labour unions are partners and when the partnership fails to thrive, there is a need for separation without malice and acrimony...not confrontational posturing and threats. It must be understood by organized labour unions that its labour partnership with government is not inseparable…it is separable by law and on principle in the supreme interest of the state and for /and on behalf of the sovereign people of Ghana when lives and essential services are at stake.

In Ghana, the basis of labour strike is a blame of “bad faith” on the part of government by organized labour unions of ignoring their petitions for negotiations/renegotiations of salaries and wages due to high cost of living, market premium, restoration of annual credits, car maintenance allowances etc.

Labour/Industrial strikes arising out of the above disputes and/or necessitated by any form of dispute which directly or indirectly leads to denial of services to humanity thereby putting human lives at risk and/or leading to disfunctioning of any strategic state institutions/organizations and disruptions to social order must be viewed by the sovereign people as a crime and declared by the constitution/laws to be a crime against humanity.

This bold statement of mine is beyond conviction and I call on Ghana to debate labour/Industrial strike as a crime against humanity and also on the world to listen and pay attention as Ghana emerges as the world’s moral super power.

Labour/Industrial strike was permissible in the 20th century where the world was struggling to develop constitutions, build flourishing independent institutions and to establish a regime of rule of law. Today, in the 21st century where Ghana together with the world have developed matured constitution, flourishing independent institutions of state and an era of rule of law… labour/Industrial strike does not make sense.

The consequences of labour/Industrial strike have been disastrous and fatal. The dream of long life, good health and eternal happiness of individuals/families have been shattered on the table of labour/Industrial strikes… women have lost that single pregnancy of a hope of having a child of their own, life of a promising daughter/son cut short, the loss of a caring father/mother, a wonderful grandmother/grandfather who would not be there to embrace their lovely grandchildren, the loss of a husband or a wife to name but a few.

In the name of labour strike...the irreparable psychological damage to affected students, longer years in school, graduation(s) unduly prolong, not to talk about additional cost incurred and burden on families.
Labour/Industrial strike is a crime and its tolerance is a stain on our collective conscience. Therefore, we must do whatever it takes to criminalize it by any means necessary to save lives and also to guarantee the stability of our country, Ghana.

Organized labour unions, today than anytime in human history have their labour rights and legitimacy guaranteed more than ever in our constitution, safeguarded by well-established independent institutions and upheld by rule of law. Therefore, it will amount to a crime should organized labour resort to labour/industrial strike to seek redress instead of the court and by that making nonsense this era of constitutional order and rule of law. Organized labour must go to court in the face of dispute other than the use of strike.

Furthermore, there are no constitutional provisions or laws in Ghana that says that government (as an employer) is under any obligation to employ a specific individual or engage organized labour at any giving time and/or not to do away with labour when it(government-as an employer) deems it legally/constitutionally fit to do so in the supreme interest of the sovereign people. Also, same to any individual or organized labour per the law and/or the constitution is under any obligation to sell their labour to government at all times. For emphasis, organized labour is not by law or under any obligation whatsoever to work solely for government. Therefore decision by government as an employer to hire labour is a privilege, so also the decisions to sell ones labour.

In the light of the above, the law/ principle must stand in handling labour disputes between government and organized labour unions. When all negotiations, dialogues ,persuasions amongst others fail in resolving labour disputes, government must be bold enough by law/ principle to dismiss or severe its working relationship with organized labour unions when labour conditions will no longer make it possible to guarantee continuous uninterrupted quality service delivery to the citizens/ the general public. Or not in the position to protect individual/family lives as well as to preserve the social order of the state.
In the same light, organized labour unions by law/principle must equally be courageous to resign or proceed to court when labour conditions with government (their employer) will not put it in a position to guarantee continuous uninterrupted quality service to government (the employer) or not in a position to protect individual/family lives as well as to preserve the social order of the state.

In the supreme interest of the state and for/ and on behalf of the sovereign people of Ghana…Government , from hence forth must employ contract as a basis of employment for individuals/organized labour unions who wish to work in all the strategic sectors of the economy: education, health, etc.— say 5years subject to renewal, acceptance and approval. There must be labour discipline to ensure the strategic positioning of the country and the guarantee of its economic growth and stability.

In conclusion, the leadership of organized labour unions in Ghana must understand that the 1992 constitution guarantees the right of formation of Association---that right is not to promote and protect their membership interests in condemnation of the rights and interests of government, the state, and the welfare of the sovereign people.
This generation cannot renege on its core responsibilities---the eternal vigilance of government, labour, the private sector, civil society and demand of those by law to be above reproach and to be subjective to the principles of selflessness, probity, accountability, transparency, integrity and social justice cannot be overemphasized.

Signed:
EBENEZER ARKUTU
CHAIRMAN


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