Apr 12, 2013 at 4:45pm
Unrest On The Labour Front
COMMENTARY ON THE CONTINUOUS UNREST ON THE LABOUR FRONT

The recent agitation, on the labour front, does not augur well for stability and cohesion needed to build the nation. Various worker organizations are on strike to back home their demand for enhanced service conditions as required by law, while others have also given signals of their readiness to withdraw their services. Though industrial actions are legitimate tools adopted by labour unions to press home demands, it is the last resort after exhausting all laid down rules. This is because of the negative consequences such decisions have on the nation’s socio-economic development. Human resource is a great asset to every nation, as such it is important to do everything humanly possible to protect and preserve their interest at all times. Even in situation where robots are to be used for any activity, they are manipulated by human beings. Steps being taken to handle the industrial agitation by government and those concerned have not been the best under the circumstances. This is because in the heat of such agitation where distribution of resources created by the working class appear not be to distributed equitably you expected nothing less than agitation to express their positions. And again, in a situation where the ability to pay which is the considerable factor in labour negotiations has been skewed towards another group of people to the neglect of others only goes to fuel the crisis.

The implementation of the Single Spine Pay Salary policy by government was received as welcome news to address the inequities in the public pay structure. It was also aimed at bridging the wide remuneration gap between the public and private sector workers. Just as with all policies and programmes, the implementation is definitely confronted with serious challenges that will require time to handle. Negotiation in the labour front which is a process through which parties move from their divergent positions to a point where agreement may be reached seems to have been thrown into the gutter. Now when ideal positions of the two sides in negotiations and the likely settlement position diverge greatly as we are witnessing now between labour organizations such as the doctors and the University lecturers, the chances of an impasse, breakdown and subsequent industrial unrest looms. Parties at the negotiating table to resolve labour disputes have instead of sticking to flexibility, collectivism, and voluntarism, are now rather sticking to entrenched positions. This has never helped in any negotiations. What has even compounded the situation is the resorting to the media in resolving sensitive labour issues when organizations such as medical doctors who are classified under essential services are involved. A show of inexperience by some media commentators and remarks by politicians over the issue is so disturbing and they only succeed in adding more insult to injury. In situations like this, people tend to forget, they are dealing with human beings who after all can be forced to rescind their decision under protest but cannot be compelled to deliver at a point of work.

As we add our voice to the call on striking workers and other category of staff to rescind their decision and resume work, similar appeal goes to the government and all those who have a stake in finding solution to the ongoing industrial actions to act now.

BY: THOMAS NSOWAH-ADJEI, A JOURNALIST.
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