The Economic and Social Development Committee of the Council of State has met the management members of the secretariat of the Commission.
The purpose of the meeting was to interact with officials of the Commission to learn about the work of the Commission. The Executive Secretary Honorable Ofosu Asamoah and the Director of Administration and Human Resources represented management. The Executive Secretary gave an overview of the establishment of the Commission processes of resolving cases. He briefed the Council members on the dispute settlement processes as well as the operations of the Commission since its establishment in the year 2005 till date.
Hon. Ofosu Asamoah had reiterated his call on the government to absorb the cost of mediation and arbitration fees to allow the accessibility of the service to promote expeditious resolution of Industrial disputes taking into consideration the number of complaints received by the Commission. He opined that there should be discussions towards making the members of the Commission full-time Commissioners expedite the hearing of cases at the Commission and said this will call for proper funding among others.
He noted that the weekly hearing of cases by the Members of the Commission was inadequate to resolve the numerous cases brought before the Commission.
If they are made full-time Commissioners, they will sit daily and this will quicken the resolution processes to avoid the current delays in resolving most of the disputes, he further explained. Hon. Ofosu Asamoah recalled that the Commission since its establishment in 2005 has received over 1.2million Complaints involving over five million complaints cumulatively out of which over 70 percent have been heard and resolved.
Sadly he noted that in less than a year, 8 members of staff of which most are from the Industrial Relations Department have resigned therefore rendering a major challenge to the facilitation services of the Commission. He added that this was due to poor conditions of service which has led to most of them being poached by private organizations, adding that, the situation is expected to have dire consequences on the Commission’s operations if not salvaged in earnest.
He said currently the Commission was only visible in 3 regions namely Greater Accra, Western and Ashanti regions and it was in its plan to open an office in the Northern region this year considering the distance that aggrieved persons have had to travel down to get their cases heard.
He added that it was time for the Head Office to also get an office complex on its own as the present office accommodation is not only inadequate but also inappropriate for the nature of work of the Commission. He mentioned the lack of office space for staff with poor ventilation, lack of meeting room, lack of offices for members of the Commission, lack of a room for library and other reference materials among others.
The Chairman of the Committee Hon. Paa Kofi Ansong thanked the Commission for its accomplishments despite all the challenges and for working hard to ensure the peaceful resolution of a number of landmark cases brought before it. He recommended that the Commission should be organizing seminars for Labour Unions to help address some of their concerns as a way of minimizing the rampant Labour agitations. He said looking at the scope of work the media does, it needed to also be enlightened on the intricacies of the Commission as a quasar judicial body so that they can better explain to the public the Commission’s directives and rulings when they are issued.
He underscored the important role of the NLC to the Ghanaian economy and added that it was pertinent the Commission be supported by government and other stakeholders to make its work meaningful. Hon. Paa Kofi Ansong promised that the Council of State will take up the issue of support of the NLC with the relevant authorities as a way of charting solutions to the Commission’s concerns.
The former Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram and former Employment minister who is now a Member of the Council, Hon. E T Mensah said it was time the law that established the Commission was reviewed for necessary inputs to be made to enable the Commission operate much effectively because of its important role to the national economy.