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TUC launches nationwide campaign for ratification of ILO convention 190 in Ghana

TUC launches nationwide campaign for ratification of ILO convention 190 in Ghana

By Kingsley Webora Tankeh

The Trades Union Congress (Ghana) with the support of the International Labour Organization has launched a nationwide campaign, on Wednesday, February 21, to sensitize the public and advocate for the Parliament of Ghana to ratify ILO Convention 190 as a matter of urgent need to help eliminate violence and harassment at workplaces across the country. The launching event was held at the TUC conference hall in Accra.

Violence and harassment are some of the serious issues in the workplace with egregious effects which are usually undermined. These when left to prevail in our working environment with impunity adversely affect the psychological state of workers which can lead to low work output. Hence the need for the ratification of Convention 190 of ILO in Ghana.

TUC Ghana, with the support of ILO is seeking to draw the attention of parliament and other relevant authorities to the need for a violence and harassment-free working environment to ensure greater output at the workplace. At the launching event, the tagline, placards and hashtags were revealed. Most of the placards bore messages entreating the Ghanaians to “speak up” against sexual violence and harassment in workplace. TUC sought the support and participation of all stakeholders in several yet-to-scheduled campaign activities across the country in the coming months.

At the launch of the campaign in Accra, the Secretary General of TUC, Dr. Yaw baah spoke about the prevailing acts of violence and sexual harassment taking place at workplaces with impunity and therefore admonished Ghanaians to speak up against the act and support in the advocacy for the ratification of the convention in Ghana.

According to him, violence and sexual harassment in the African context is usually overlooked due to the inaction by authorities and the ramified acceptance of the act by “some African cultures” which promote the acts rather than condemning them.

“Violence and sexual harassment is very pervasive. It’s everywhere. You can find it even in public transport. Sexual harassment is not taken seriously at workplaces. In some cases, the cultures promote it. If you go into some sectors especially male-dominated sectors with few women, women suffer a lot in the hands of these men,” Dr. Baah added.

However, he demystified the notion that violence and sexual harassment always has to be about women. He added that despite the higher number of female victims, men also face some violence and harassment. Dr. Baah contends that, in Ghana, violence and sexual harassment at workplaces is not given the needed attention thereby allowing acts of such to be swept under the carpet.

Senior technical specialist at the ILO Iviolata Chinyangarara, who presented an overview of the C190 at the launching event, explained what the convention is composed of. She said the C190 is part of the promotion ILO decent work by observing its for pillars. “Because you cannot promote decent and quality employment to workers where sexual violence and harassment is prevalent. The C190 provides definitions that are crucial for gap analysis of labour laws, including collective bargaining agreements,” she added.

The chief director of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. Kizito Ballans, assured all stakeholders of the ministry’s support to seeing through the ratification of the convention in Ghana. Mr. Ballans commended the efforts of social partners, donors and all stakeholders for taking the step to educate the public and advocate for its ratification in the country. Despite the country’s inability to ratify the convention in time, after it was adopted by Ghana earlier, he said, government is firm in helping them materialize their quest. He added that, it is “better late than never.”

The ILO Convention 190 has already been ratified in 9 African countries. When the TUC is successful in its advocacy and see through the ratification of the convention, Ghana will be the tenth on the continent to do so.

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