Let’s develop decent work strategies to defend workers’ rights – GIMPA Rector

Social Working Condition
Social Working Condition

Professor Samuel Kwaku Bonsu, Rector, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, has called on researchers and authorities to develop comprehensive decent work strategies to defend workers’ rights.

He said the protection of human rights and prioritizing the interests of workers were key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Rector said this in Accra at a research project conference on the topic, “Realising the SDGs: The Role of Responsible Business,” funded by DANIDA through the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

The project focused on four streams of research, decent work in the artisanal mining industry in Ghana, child labour in the cocoa industry in Ghana; Non-judicial remediation of private sector human rights in Ghana; and a National Plan of Action on business and human rights in Ghana.

Presenting on the topic ” Decent Work and Precarity in Ghana’s Artisanal Mining Sector” Prof Bonsu said the research revealed an apparent disconnection between norms espoused under the agenda of the SDGs and the tangible implementation of their relevant interventions.

The project was focused at Tarkwa Nsuaem, the biggest mining area in Ghana.

The objective was to explore how involuntary self-employment in Ghana’s ASM exemplifies market-based employment relations that render employees vulnerable to human abuses.

The research, he stressed, revealed a break from the orthodoxy restricted by the normative expectation of traditional organization of work to see an abundance of opportunity created by the adversaries inherent in the difficult work done by artisanal mining workers.

He said the research revealed that ASM was fraught with risks and abuses and called for a higher degree of adaptation in an ever-present condition of adversity.

The research, among others, showed that the workers were engaged casually without job stability and not provided with safety equipment, a typical working environment in the Africa terrain.

He called for a concerted effort to address the pitfalls in the artisanal mining sector to achieve the SDGs and ensure holistic growth in all sectors of the economy.

Mr Victor Brobbey, Head of Law Department, Lancaster University Ghana, touching on the “National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights,” said the government inaugurated a steering committee to develop the Plan to streamline the business space.

Among the tenets of the Plan were mandatory human rights impact assessments, mandatory human rights due diligence, monitoring the implementation of human rights policies by business actors, and enforcement of human rights standards by all state-owned enterprises.

Mr Brobbey said the plans were to ensure that Ghana was in line with international best practices in terms of business and human rights and adopt programmes that kept with the growing trend towards responsible and sustainable business conduct.

Mr Tom Norring, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, acknowledged the importance of respect for fundamental human rights in the business environment, especially with the European Union.

That, he stated, was important because it helped ensure business success and expressed their continuous support to projects that would spur development globally.

Mr Joseph Whittal, the Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, pledged the Commission’s commitment to play its role in promoting and protecting human rights.

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