An experienced trade unionist and Human Resource Management practitioners who is contesting for the position of Deputy General-Secretary in charge of Operations of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) Ghana has proposed the diversification of the sources of revenue of the Union when the new leadership comes into office.
Mr Thomas Assibi Atiah, who is a former Accra Regional Officer of ICU, a member of the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM) and has a Masters degree in Alternative Dispute Resolution, appealed to members of the ICU to vote him into that position to enable him contribute this diversification agenda for the betterment of members in particular and the ICU as a whole.
In an interview with The Inquirer in Accra last week, Mr. Assibi Atiah said every new leadership builds on the success of the past management team, and he will therefore propose some innovations to the new leadership in order to move the ICU forward.
He is contesting the position of Deputy General-Secretary (Operations) at the 11th Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference of ICU scheduled for 25th-27th August, 2021 and to be held at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
“At this time of Covid, we need to be creative and innovative to be able to survive. Currently, ICU needs sustainable membership to be able to provide it with adequate financial resources. For us to be able to do that, we need to come with new areas,” Mr. Assibi Atiah said.
He stressed that new revenue-generating ideas are required at this moment. “We need to diversify our old sources of income. We will not continue to depend on our traditional sources of income for the Union. It is not wrong when you learn from other unions. I know some unions have established financial institutions.
The ICU is already linked up with many financial institutions through our members. So the new leadership will put their expertise together to open financial institutions which will service our members with loans and other facilities and services.
“The armed forces have set up a financial institution and they are doing well. They have set up fuel filling stations which are doing well. So we can also think outside the box as union leaders and introduce similar revenue- generating businesses,” he stated.
Mr. Atiah said an important matter which the ICU alone which cannot bring a cure to solve is the casual contract issue. “It is a matter that is beyond ICU alone. What I can say as a member of the May Day Planning Committee and the contributions I made at the Organized Labour and regional level, I think we should work to build a consensus on relooking at the Labour Law as far as casual and contract workers are concerned.
“We need to amend the part of the Labour Law that talks of contract for service and contract of service which needs to be reviewed.
We need to look at it carefully because they employers are using it wrongly. If I employ you for a specific job and I pay you, it is different from a job that is there permanently. But because employers don’t want employees to be part of unions, they give them contracts for two or three months. Meanwhile the job position is vacant.
“This impedes the workers’ fundamental right of association. It is an uphill task but there are like-minded persons in the Executive and Legislature who support the amendment of the law. We need to embark on advocacy so that they can see to eye to eye with ICU for the necessity to amend the law,” he emphasised.
By Joseph Nana Yaw Cobbina