By Iddi Yire
Accra, Sept 18, GNA – Madam Agnes Kunihira, a Member of the Parliament of Uganda, together with some Ugandan public officials, has paid a courtesy call on Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, in Accra.
The visit was part of a study tour by the Ugandan Delegation to learn best practices from the Ghanaian Labour Management and Industrial Relations practices and be able to incorporate lessons shared into the Ugandan Employment Act, which is currently under review.
In his remarks, the Minister said, he was happy about the visit as it would also create a knowledge-sharing platform for the delegation to learn, understand and exchange ideas on the Ghanaian Labour Law and its associated policies.
Mr Baffour-Awuah recalled the bilateral relationship between the two countries as far back as Ghana’s independence era when a Ghanaian delegation went to understudy the Parliament of Uganda to understand their governance system and operations.
The Minister mentioned some areas of interest worth noting for best practices within the Ghanaian labour regime and management of labour administration, including the rights of workers, the rights of migrant workers and the abuse of domestic workers, sexual harassment, child labour/force labour, and modern-day slavery/human trafficking.
Mr Baffour-Awuah briefed the team on how the Ministry had collaborated with key stakeholders in the labour migration space to chalk successes.
He noted that the journey had been a very long one but commended the roles of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Police Service, the Labour Department and the Ministry of the Interior as partners who supported in the development of the National Labour Migration Policy.
Mr Baffour-Awuah Awuah further explained the processes and procedures for exporting labour as well as the channels for reporting, saying “where there are challenges for migrant workers, especially domestic workers, they have contacts with the Labour Department and the Foreign Missions to lodge complaints and get support.”
The Minister recalled how he caused the arrest of some females trying to leave the shores of Ghana to work in some Asian countries.
This, he said, explains why a ban was placed on direct to homes migration to the Gulf States.
He said some efforts put in place to salvage the situation were the passage of the Domestic Workers Regulation L.I. 2408 and the Bilateral Agreements entered into with countries like Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to manage and address issues of domestic work within the migration space in Ghana and abroad.
He also mentioned the roles played by the Public Employment Centres (PECs) and the Private Employment Agencies (PEAs).
He said unregistered PEAs were causing nuisance but said the situation was under control and that the government was still looking for the best options to deal with perpetrators.
The Minister explained Ghana’s effort in seeking to ratify Convention 190, pointing out that two surveys had been carried out recently to ascertain the validity of Violence and Sexual Harassment at workplaces.
On her part, Madam Kunihira also highlighted some issues that confronted Uganda but notably said, among others, that sexual harassment cases were incessant at workplaces.