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28 April, 2023Eighteen white collar workers from Ghanaian affiliates organising in the energy, mining, chemical, oil and gas, and public utilities, met in Accra on 26 April to discuss how they can develop organizing strategies and build union power in their sectors.
The issues discussed at the meeting, which was organized by the IndustriALL Global Union Sub Saharan Africa regional office, included on how to close the gender pay gay, inclusion of women as part of the collective bargaining negotiation teams, inclusive union representation of women as shop stewards and union organizers, increasing maternity leave from the current three to four months, rewarding long service through promotions, giving permanent contracts to workers on short-term contracts, and unionising more white-collar workers.
The meeting resolved to continue campaigning for the ratification of Convention 190 to stop violence and harassment in the world of work, and for the inclusion of clauses from the convention into human resources policies.
The meeting emphasized the importance of national labour laws and international labour standards on fundamental rights at work including health and safety as well as leveraging industry standards on human rights due diligence. Building solidarity, workers unity, and using managerial experience and skills to strengthen union recruitment and organizing capacity are some of the actions that the white-collar workers committed to do. The workers who attended the meeting included engineers, environmental coordinators, fire and rescue workers, managers, and energy workers.
Information and knowledge sharing using social media and digital platforms by the union on issues of interest to white collar workers were identified as key to organizing especially some non-unionized workers who were reluctant to join the union.
Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa said:
“Union leaders must make conscious decisions to include white collar women workers in collective bargaining negotiations. Women must be part of the team and not only be included as observers. This is one of the key strategies that can be used to end the gender pay gap as women can articulate their demands better.”
“Ghanaian trade unions are engaging at various workplaces to end gender discrimination, and in the union through gender committees. We are also campaigning for the ratification of Convention 190,”
said Joyce Maku Appiah, IndustriALL gender equality task force member and Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU) gender coordinator.
Through a project supported by Industri-Energi, Norway, PUWU is campaigning for the inclusion of clauses on gender-based violence and sexual harassment in collective bargaining agreements at the enterprise level.
The Ghanaian unions affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union that participated in the meeting are the Ghana Mine Workers Union, Ghana Transport Petroleum and Chemicals Workers Union, and Public Utilities Workers Union.