Allow us charge fees for services – NLC demands

The National Labour Commission is asking government to allow it charge filing fees for settling labour issues.

According to the commission, depending on government’s subvention, which is woefully inadequate, and also delays for months, is affecting the efficient running of the commission.

Over 4000 labour disputes are pending adjudication, however the commission is yet to receive its subvention for this year. It is therefore unable to file cases at the court for settlement due to lack of funds.

By law, the commission is supposed to deal with any labour issue in three days, however, the commission has only one lawyer to deal with the hundreds of cases filed on daily basis.

Speaking to Citi Business News at a Labour Policy forum organized by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission, Ofosu Asamoah said the situation is dire.

“The figures are quoted in the budget as our subvention, but the releases are not coming. For the whole year, we haven’t received anything, no capital expenditure. So funds for facilitation, and the running of the entire office and even maintenance of the two pickups we have, is a challenge and that is why we are not able to move from Accra.”

He lamented that several attempts to get clearance from the Finance Ministry to employ another lawyer have proved futile.

“At the moment, we have only two motor bikes which are also old as 15 years and so we have resorted to posting some of our responses and it takes days to get to the people. Sometimes we get our cases struck out from the court for lack of prosecution because we are not in court. The single lawyer we have has to write letters, advice and go to court and she gets overwhelmed.”

Mr. Asamoah also disclosed that petitioners have had to pay for the filing of their cases at the court, which is a responsibility of the commission.

He wants the commission to charge for services rendered in order to generate revenue internally.

The National Labour commission is therefore appealing to government to help it establish offices in other parts of the country to enable it deal with labour issues effectively.

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