Source: myjoyonline.com - The National Labour Commission (NLC) is in dire need of funds to even hire lawyers to defend its own decisions in court, disadvantaging labour and facilitating the numerous strikes in the country.
The government stands accused of intentionally starving the commission of funds in order to have the upper hand in labour issues.
Speaking on Joy FM/Multi TV news analysis show Newsfile Saturday, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Justice Yankson said majority of decisions in favour of labour are rendered useless because the NLC cannot enforce them.
He was commenting on the ongoing strike by the Ghana Medical Association which has brought healthcare delivery in the country on it knees, leaving patients desperately in need of medical attention unattended.
Under the Labour Act the NLC has to go to court to ensure that its rulings are complied, but “they (NLC) will tell you they don’t have the funds to even go to court”, Dr. Yankson revealed.
The situation has always brought the workers back to square one with no end in sight, he noted, adding “so anything they (NLC) do for us we are not excited” because they will yield no result.
Dr. Yankson believes the Commission has also been cold in order to “connive with the state to deprive” workers what is due them.
Most often, because the NLC lawyers don’t go to court to defend it, judges often get frustrated and after several adjournments enter judgements in favour of the plaintiff usually government, thus quashing NLC’s decisions.
Charles Bawa Duah, an experienced labour lawyer, conceded that NLC is overstretched when it comes to legal staff. He noted that the commission has just one office in the entire country and is saddled with numerous complaints from across the country.
When a decision is given in favour of a labour union, the union can apply to the NLC and go to court to enforce the commission’s decision.
But Dr. Justice Yankson retorted the counsel, describing it as a “negative approach”. He was incensed that government will “refuse to fund” the NCL to execute its work effectively.
To set up structures and disable them technically to prevent them from doing their work efficiently amounted to the state being specialist in failure, Egbert Faibille, a legal practitioner added to the debate.
National Organiser of the governing NDC, Kofi Adams suggested that it was a “complete disregard” of the law for doctors to go on strike while on negotiation table.
He argued that it was wrong in the first place for the GMA whose members include those in private practice to be given a certificate to bargain.
He explained that it would be improper that those in private practice will take a decision that affects public workers when they are not affected directly.
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