Ghana has recently vowed tough action against foreign investors who abuse local workers following a spike in cases of employees that were tortured by their employers.
Several employers have appeared in court facing charges of torturing their workers, a development that has angered labour unions in the country. The unions have threatened to stage protests against some of the companies accused of abuse.
Labour and Employment Relations Minister Haruna Iddrisu said the government would consider cancelling licenses of companies found to be abusing workers.
“We have jointly taken a position on the matter not to end at the condemnation of the act which is an affront to our labour legislation and practices in Ghana; but to punish same and therefore appropriate steps are being taken, even if it means a revocation of that free zones license. We are a signatory to all the respected ILO [International Labour Organisation] conventions that supports and promotes decent work and productive work environment; and the rights of workers will continuously be upheld and respected by this government and all public institutions.”
An employee of Gateway Logistics Limited in Ghana’s oil city of Takoradi, was in March chained to a container for several hours under the scorching sun by his Italian supervisor, Manlio Maggiorotto for allegedly loitering during working hours.
Another employee of a cafeteria, Peterpan Restaurant, in the capital city, Accra, was slapped with a piece of hot pizza by her Korean boss, Young Gyu Lee, over a burnt pizza. Lee was charged with assault by the police after the case was reported in March.
Police say a Turkish expatriate in the eastern of Akyem Oda was recently arrested for allegedly attacking one of his workers, accusing him of negligence after an excavator the victim was operating stacked in a wetland.
The battered worker was said to have sustained severe injuries described by local media as “life-threatening” and was rushed to Ghana’s largest health facility, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, for treatment.
The General Transport and Petroleum Workers Union, a branch of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), said it was angered by the maltreatment of Ghanaian workers, culture of oppression and silence and abominable act by expatriate employers.
“The national secretariat is thinking of taking what happened seriously and we are thinking of organising a demonstration in the Western Region on that issue,” the union’s spokesperson Fuseini Iddrisu said.
TUC issued a statement earlier this month condemning the “dehumanising” treatment meted against Ibrahim Sanou, an employee of Gateway Logistics Limited.