Tema The Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has called for the amendment of portions of the Labour Act 2003 (ACT 651) to make the National Labour Commission (NLC) more effective.
Some of the amendments, the GFL proposed, are enforcement of NLC decisions, membership structure, political appointment, commissioners’ tenure of office, and remuneration.
Mr Abraham Koomson, General Secretary of the GFL disclosed this at the inauguration of the Greater Accra Regional Committee of the National Labour Commission in Tema, saying his outfit presented the proposal to the Minister of Works and Labour Relations in 2019 but was yet to receive any communication from him.
Mr Koomson explained that winning parties find it difficult to pursue awards made by the Commission under the current provisions of the Act as he indicated that it took years for such decisions to be enforced in many cases.
“It should be possible for decisions made by the Commission to be enforced either by the Commission itself or any of the disputing parties on application and upon written consent of the Commission. If a party is capable of going to the court for enforcement of an NLC award, he/she should be permitted to do so”.
On the structure and membership of the secretariat of the NLC, he observed that the structure and job roles of key leadership of the Secretariat of the NLC were not provided under Section 147 of the Act 2003 (Act 651).
He said the Secretariat must be seen to be directly answerable to the Commission under every circumstance but not to any other authority, saying the Secretariat quite often appeared to be operating largely in disjoint with the members of the Commission.
Touching on political appointees to head the NLC, he stressed that “the practice of appointing persons of known political party activism or sentiment to the position of Executive Secretary must be stopped. This practice compromises the independence, neutrality and impartiality of the NLC as provided under Section 138 (2) of the Labour Act 651.”
Adding that the executive Secretary operated as the chief administrator of the NLC, therefore, an occupant of that position must not be seen to be politically connected to any party.
Mr Koomson said looking at the high number of cases handled by the Commissioners and the sensitivity of labour matters for national development, the tenure of the office for members of the Commission under Section 143 (1) of the Labour Act 651 must be for full-time engagement.
The GFL again proposed that the Commissioners must be properly remunerated instead of being paid only sitting allowances as currently done under Section 142, saying “The Commission works as a regular sitting adjudicating body in pursuance of national industrial harmony. Members of the Commission deserve proper recognition and reasonably appropriate remuneration by law towards ensuring commitment to the task”.
He added that it would be appropriate that Section 142 of the Act was amended to include consultation with tripartite together with the Minister of Finance to determine the remuneration for members of the NLC.
Source: Ghana News Agency