GFL Fights SSNIT Over Labour College Gift To TUC

The Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has kicked against SSNIT’s decision to donate the Ghana Labour College in Accra when it is rebuilt, to the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

According to the GFL, donating the rebuilt Labour College to TUC by itself is not worrying but the thought behind it is “discriminatory and wrong to say the least”.

The Ghana Labour College is the training institution that handles all the educational objectives of the TUC, which oversees and regulates all the labour issues of the 17 labour unions in Ghana.

The GFL argues that the 1965 Industrial Relations Act. Act 299, a law passed by the CPP government, made the TUC the sole organisation that all trade unions ought to affiliate with, and through it that unions should apply for the grants of collective bargaining certificates, but Article 21(1)(e) of the constitution, in line with the International Labour Organisation’s Freedom of Association Convention, entrenched the rights of all persons to freedom of association which include joining or forming a trade union of one’s own choosing.

The GFL said: “The privileged statutory status of TUC was abolished by the constitution and in its place is what the Labour Act. 2003 refers to as the Organised Labour, which as a confederation, the two national centres, namely the TUC and the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL), are to serve affiliates together with other independent unions.”

The GFL further argues that members of all the unions not affiliated to the TUC are contributors to the SSNIT Fund, and for that matter, any expenditure to be made in the construction of an edifice in memory of unionised workers should be carried out in the name of the Organised Labour and not TUC as contemplated. “SSNIT should not continue to live in the past and that anything intended to be done for unionised workers in Ghana cannot, and should not be done in the name of any single union or a centre,” GFL said in a statement.

The GFL further noted that the current building housing the TUC was donated to the TUC by the CPP government at the time it served as the sole trade centre for all unionised workers in the country, and therefore if SSNIT is desirous of constructing an edifice to house a Labour College for all unionised workers at the site of the current TUC’s Labour College, then the current site must be bought from the TUC in order to enable the would-be-rebuilt Laour College to be donated to Organised Labour in Ghana as a whole.

In the alternative, GFL has suggested that SSNIT may acquire a land somewhere else to construct a Labour College for the Organised Labour in Ghana.

GFL said it does not want to undermine the TUC, but its position is meant to promote the consolidation of trade union pluralism as entrenched in the constitution and to bring trade union practice in Ghana in tune with the ILO’s convention on freedom of association.