For those of you who were unable to join the debate we hosted last Wednesday on the Right to Unite, we have put together a summary of what turned out to be a very lively and informative debate.
Questions were raised, ideas and valuable insights were shared about the functioning of trade unions in Ghana and worldwide.
According to Eugène Litamahuputty from CNV International unions, besides organising workers, “bring labour violations under the attention of public, enterprises, politics. Public pressure has huge impact”.
Why then would people choose not to join a union?
“…intimidation on the part of managements frustrates the process” said Ellis Koomson of the Ghana Federation of Labour about the agricultural workers in Ghana.
Other obstacles to free and effective trade unions that were identified include political pressures, ineffective stewards, illiteracy and informal work (when workers don’t have satisfactory contracts). Participants also shared their ideas on how to move forward.
For instance @Bananalink suggested “alliance building with other sector of civil society” and that unions in different countries working for the same company should work together. A key success factor most participants agreed on was training.
Finally, we talked about what consumers can do to safeguard this right. Participants felt that consumers should boycott products of companies that violate union rights.
But how can consumers know which companies respect union rights and which don’t?
Mainly through NGOs that are in direct contact with unions. It was also pointed out that consumers’ responsibility is limited. As Catherine Nicholson from Consumers International said “consumers care about fairness but need greater transparency to hold companies to account”.
You can read the actual tweets here? Check the twitter feed.
Why are we raising awareness on this Right? Read our introductory article on the Right to Unite.
The twitter debate was part of, Open Up, our explorative online series. For an overview of Open Up so far go to http://www.fairfood.org/openup/.< Back