Ghana: Union and company call on ILO to declare OHS a fundamental right

The General Construction, Manufacturing and Quarries Workers’ Union of Ghana (GCMQWU) and the Zhongmei Group Engineering Company Ltd. on 12 April signed a declaration recognising the importance of occupational health and safety and calling on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to declare it as a fundamental worker’s right. 

The signing of the declaration is part of BWI and the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers’ (EFBWW)

global campaign to build an alliance for workers’ health and safety leading to this year’s International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April. It is the first declaration to be signed by an employer since the launch of the campaign last week. 

Zhongmei has 305 workers working as labourers, operators, masons, welders, carpenter, cooks, scalfolders, concerete mixture cleaners and excavator operators. The company in in charge of constructing the Pokukase-Nsawam interchange (six tier lanes) in kwabenya, Kasoa and Awoshie to ease traffic congestion. 

GCMQWU has a two-year collective bargaining agreement with the company. In its CBA review this year, the union successfully negotiated for the inclusion of several ILO convention, such as the ILO Convention No. 190 on elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work and ILO Convention no. 183 on maternity protection. “Emergency provisions” which protect workers during times of crises, like a pandemic, were also included.    

Currently, the union is conducting worksite-level educational activities on occupational health and safety for its members.