More than 40 percent of workers, most of them in the informal sector, earn below the national daily minimum wage, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said.
This situation is a gross violation of the law and workers’ rights, leading the TUC and other organisations Wage Indicator Foundation from the Netherlands, National Labour Commission, the Labour Department, Ghana Federation of Labour, and Ghana Employers Association to launch an online portal where workers can report such violations and other infractions of their rights.
Illiteracy, poor education about the labour laws and a general laxity in law enforcement seem responsible for the widespread non-compliance with minimum wage legislation, especially in the weakly regulated informal economy.
The national daily minimum wage the least salary that a worker can receive was set at GH¢5.24 in 2013, an increase of 17 percent over 2012. At the time of writing this report on Wednesday, the TUC together with private employers and government were still negotiating the minimum wage for 2014.
Unions had begun the talks with a demand for a 20 percent rise, but subsequently lowered their demand as all the negotiating parties tried to be more accommodating.
The Wage Indicator Foundation, which advocates fair pay for workers, created the online complaints platform to contribute to a more transparent labour market for workers and employers. The foundation — set up in 2001 collects, compares and shares labour market information through surveys and desk research in over 80 countries.
Its work is assisted by trade unions, employers’ organisations and world-renowned universities. The foundation’s website serves as an online library for wage information, labour law and career advice.
Ghana is the second country in Africa after Kenya to launch the online complaints system. It will run as a pilot for six months before full adoption.
The procedure to post a complaint is simple, said Ms. Paulien Osse, Director of the Wage Indicator Foundation. A complainant is required to visit the portal, www.mywage.org/ghana, and fill in and submit a form to either the National Labour Commission or Labour Department or the TUC, which forwards the complaint to the NLC or Labour Department.
After perusal, all complaints will be compiled for the necessary legal intervention. The compliance form focuses on the two most pressing problems workers face: non-payment of minimum wage and excessive working hours.
It is expected that the innovation will advance the enforcement of workers’ rights and bring workers up-to-date with modern technology.