Modern Ghana | 11 November 2021
TUC schools trade union leaders on AfCFTA
The Trades Union Congress, Ghana, (TUC Ghana) in partnership with the International Trade Union Africa (ITUC Africa) has organized a capacity building training on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) for Trade Union Leaders in the country.
The three-day enlightening workshop, which commenced on Monday in Tema in the Greater Accra Region, would amongst numerous objectives focus on the impact of the AfCFTA and its provisions of employment for the youth with possible implications as an agreement.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Tema after the opening ceremony, Ms Abena Afriyie Domefeh, the Youth Desk Officer of TUC Ghana, said there was the need to discuss the AfCFTA to know more about its implications on employment, trade unions and workers.
Ms Domefeh described as worrying and unfortunate that AfCFTA did not have provisions on labour issues, noting that in Africa one of the crucial challenges was labour standard.
According to her, due to labour challenges, the continent was engulfed with abuse of workers and trade union right fluctuations, hence the TUC Ghana was stunned not finding labour issues captured in the agreement, adding that "we found it worrying."
Although she commended the agreement and established that it was going to create enormous opportunities through availability of already existing market avenue for buying and selling across the continent, she was quick to add that there were some lapses in the agreement, which must be looked at with immediate effect.
She reiterated that, one of the loopholes in the agreement was that countries that were not really part of the agreement could easily pass through to get their goods dumped in the country, hence the need to tighten up the agreement to ensure that other non-African countries adhere appropriately.
"If care is not taken, we will see countries that their entrepreneurs will come and set up factories here in Ghana, bring down their goods and get them repackaged as if it has been made in Ghana and send it across the continent,” she said.
She added that “so if care is not taken, Africa entrepreneurs will not really benefit from the agreement therefore we see it as both opportunity and a challenge".
The Youth Desk Officer added that the participants which were mostly youth who would be trained to come up with campaign messages and strategies to champion the fight to ensure that issues of trade unions and workers were put at the centre of the agreement.
Mr Tetteh Hormeku-Ajei, Head of Programmes at Third World Network-Africa, on his part emphasized some of the challenges surrounding the AfCFTA and the need to pay attention to Rules of Origin including the need to invest in industrialization with youth as key stakeholders.
Ms Marie Daniel, Labour Research Service Associate, South Africa, hammered on labour provisions and added that the Agriculture Sector provides a good example that could seriously be fraught by AfCFTA.
Mr John Odah, Executive Secretary of the Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA) gave insight on some of the implications posed by the free trade agreement project to trade unions and made some recommendations, including the need to create opportunities for women, and the disabled, among others.