Madam Vanessa Phala

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has launched the Trade for Decent Work Project-Ghana, aimed at improving the application of the ILO Fundamental Conventions and compliance with reporting obligations to the Organisation’s supervisory bodies.

The project is also focused on child labour and its worst forms in sectors with high incidence such as the cocoa sector, and related conventions contributing to decent work in those areas.

Country Director for the ILO Office in Abuja, Nigeria, Madam Vanessa Phala speaking at a virtual launch of the Project, said the importance of trade for decent work could not be overemphasized because trade was the driver of development and growth processes.

The project is also to enhance the capacity of labour market institutions to develop coherent laws and promote improved application and compliance with labour laws.

It is to consolidate the institutional capacity of government and social partners, to fulfil reporting obligations regarding ILS.

 The Project will strengthen institutional frameworks to facilitate social dialogue, conflict resolution and industrial relations to enhance the implementation of ILS.

It will promote the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (2017), referenced in EU Trade for All Policy.

Madam Phala said unfortunately, trade could also drive the negative aspect of development, if not managed holistically, adding that it was for that reason that ILO expressed gratitude to the European Union for funding the Project.

The Country Director said the launch of the initiative was a statement of their intent to look at issues that needed to be promoted against decent work holistically.

Madam Phala said the Project sought to complement many ongoing projects that were implemented by ILO with the view of enhancing the effective application of ILO Fundamental Conventions in Ghana, contributing to the nexus between trade and decent work.

She said the Project followed a request for assistance by the government of Ghana and social partners.

Madam Phala said the Project was part of the larger global longstanding and productive partnership on supporting EU trading partner countries jointly identified to improve the application of the ILO fundamental Conventions.  

Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah said the issue of trade for decent work had become more important, especially the kind of interest the country’s trade partners had shown in commodities traded-in.

He said the Ministry was committed to upholding International Labour standard as a way of promoting decent work in a setting that upheld national values.

The Minister reiterated that issues of elimination of child labour were key to a successful implementation and attainment of Decent Work tenets in any country; for which reason the EU/ILO initiative was very welcome.

He commended the management of ILO and the EU for their enormous support.

The EU Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Diana Acconia said millions of workers suffer a violation of their labour rights and three million die every year through work-related accidents.

She said the launch was happening because of the EU’s commitment to Ghana and it was the reopening of another chapter of the collaboration between the Union and the People of Ghana.

She said the Project was more important now because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic with a lot of workers suffering.

“We will work closely with the ILO to achieve effective implementation of the Project,” she added.