1.0 RESIDENTIAL WORKSHOP ON MATERNAL HEALTH AND FAMILY PLANNING
A three-(3)-day residential workshop on maternal health and family planning was organized for Banana and plantation workers from 7th – 9th February 2022 at the Sweet Green Hotel, Senchi. Participants of the workshop were from Musahamat Farms Limited, Volta River Estates Limited (VREL), Golden Exotics Limited (GEL) and the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU).
The objective of the program was to enhance the knowledge base of banana workers, representatives of management, supervisors, site nurses, local union representatives, and Women’s committee members on maternal health and family planning. The workshop also sought to create awareness of the legal and institutional framework of Ghana and Key ILO Standards applicable to maternal health and family planning.
The program was facilitated by Madam Adjoa Sakyi, IUF Regional Coordinator.
Participants also mentioned some chemicals they used in the farms right from the nursery to the harvesting stage of cultivation.
2.0 LIVE RADIO DISCUSSIONS ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
There were live radio discussions on sexual harassment and gender-based violence. The discussion also sought to create awareness of Convention 190 and Occupational Health and Safety. This program runs from February to April 2022. The selected local radio station was Rite FM in Somanya and the days for the live discussions were 12th February 2022, 5th March 2022, and the last session was held on 2nd April 2022. The day and time was Saturday 9 am- 10 am. Four (4) persons from gender committees participated as guests in the live radio discussions. Sister Esinam Poku represented ICU Gender Desk, Brother Bless Amenya, and Sister Abena Amponsah represented Golden Exotic Limited, and Sister Juliet Arku-Mensah from Volta River Estates Limited.
3.0 WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN IN THE BEVERAGE SECTOR
The Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU)in collaboration with its international affiliate, the International Union of Food, Agriculture, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF) organized a two (2) day workshop for women in the beverage sector of the union. The program took place at the ICU House, Kokomlemle in Accra from Tuesday, 21st to Wednesday, 22nd June 2022.
The theme of the workshop was “Making Women Visible in Occupational Health and Safety”. Out of a total of Thirty- Seven (37) participants. Twenty (22) were Women and fifteen (15) Men participants.
Nine (9)beverage companies attended the workshop. They are:
- SBC Beverages Limited (Pepsi Cola), Accra
- The Coca-Cola Bottling Company Limited, Accra
- Kasapreko Company Limited, Accra
- Blow Group of Companies, Accra/Tema
- Twellium Industrial Company Limited, Accra
- Accra Brewery Limited, Accra
- Nestle Ghana Limited, Tema
- Cocoa Processing Company Limited, Tema
- Fan Milk Limited, Accra
Also present was the Regional Women’s Coordinator (IUF Africa), Sister Adwoa Sakyi, and the Deputy Regional Secretary of IUF Africa, Brother Simoen Dossou.
Sister Adwoa Sakyi co-facilitated the workshop with the Education Officer, Brother Emmanuel Yabani, assisted by a Senior Education Officer, Brother Thomas Atiah, and the Head of the Gender and Youth Desk, Sister Esinam Poku.
The workshop was aimed at creating awareness among participants on Occupational Health and Safety Issues, most especially those affecting women.
The program was opened by the General Secretary, of the ICU, Ghana, Brother Morgan Ayawine, assisted by the Deputy General Secretary in charge of Operations and Administration, Brothers Emmanuel Benimah and Samuel Ananga.
The Deputy Regional Secretary of IUF Africa, Brother Simoen Dossou, also made an opening remark by challenging the participants to bring about change at their various organizations.
|General Secretary, ICU-Ghana, Brother Morgan Ayawine Opening the workshop|
The workshop discussed why it was necessary to integrate Gender into Occupational Health and Safety. Women and men tend to carry out very different jobs. This means that women and men are exposed to different hazards at work. Both gender – the characteristics of women and men created by society – and sex – the characteristics that are biologically determined – affect occupational health and safety. But too often, these differences are ignored.
Participants were tasked to perform an exercise according to groups under the following heading: of risk controls which are Elimination; Substitution; Engineering; Administration; and Personal protective equipment.
4.0 WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN AT FIESTA ROYALE HOTEL AND RESIDENCES
As part of the Union’s responsibility to educate its members, a two-day in-house seminar was organized for workers of Fiesta Royale Hotel, Accra.
The program is organized by the Gender Desk with support from the Education
Department. The program took place from the 4th to the 5th July 2022.
The theme for the workshop was “Making Women Visible in Occupational
Health and Safety”
In all, twenty-eight (28) participants from the various departments of the Hotel participated in the workshop. Brother Emmanuel Yabani, the Education Officer, was the main presenter, supported by Sister Esinam Poku, Head of the Gender and Youth Desk, and Brother Thomas Atiah, Senior Education Officer.
The Accra Regional Officer, Brother Ernest Otu Addo, and Sister Christine Asante, Senior Industrial Relations Officer were also present for the opening.
Madam Frances Victoria Ansah-Addo, the Group Human Resource Manager of the Hotel, officially opened the workshop with a brief welcome address. In her opening remarks, she emphasized the need to continually organize such programs to sharpen the skills of workers to increase productivity. She also explained further that it is needful to discuss issues about work ethics which change workers’ attitudes towards work.
Brother Emmanuel Yabani, and Sister Esinam Poku took participants through topics such as understanding Trade Unionism, with ICU-Ghana in perspective, OHS issues at work, and Creating Awareness on Convention 190.
Also, some topics from the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) were discussed.
They are as follows:
Section 8 – Rights of Employers
Section 9 – Duties of Employers
Section 10 – Rights of a Worker
Section 11 – Duties of Workers
Issues on Workman Compensation Law 187 (PNDCL.187) were also discussed.
5.0 A VIRTUAL UNI MEI WOMEN TRAINING ON GENDER-RESPONSIVE APPROACH TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
On Monday 15th May 2023, our International Affiliate, UNI Global Union Office organized a webinar on a Gender Responsive Approach to Collective Bargaining.
The participants from ICU Ghana were Sisters Esinam Poku, Abiba Issifu, and Catherine Hesse.
The Objective of the webinar was to sensitize and build the capacity of women in trade unions on how to include gender-sensitive clauses and policies in their collective agreements.
The Webinar commenced at 11 a.m.
Participants were taken through an online survey exercise. The result of the exercise conducted by the participants reaffirmed the fact that there is a need to address women’s needs through collective bargaining.
The program outlined critical issues affecting working women all over the world. These issues were Equal pay for women, Work life balance, Occupational Health and Safety needs, Career Advancement and Leadership, and Workforce Diversity and Inclusion.
The training encouraged affiliates to organize women and discussed issues concerning menstruation and menopause.
Participants were educated on how to prepare for a negotiation that involves gender-responsive issues. They were also reminded to be guided by the culture and beliefs of their country.
Genders officers were encouraged during the training session to create awareness of their members on critical gender issues at the workplace and also encourage women employees to fully participating in the bargaining process.
According to participants from SACCAWU, a trade union in South Africa, the collective agreement of their members contains 2days in a month as menstrual leave for women.
Similarly, participants from the Philippines also shared that, the collective agreement of their members contains 2days in a month as menstrual leave for women.
The webinar closed at 1.15 p.m.
The training was very timely even as the department prepares for the second batch of the regional basic trade union seminar for women and youth in the Eastern and Volta regions.
The experiences shared by our sister affiliates of UNI Global Union from South Africa AND the Philippines concerning menstruation leave are worth emulating. Therefore, we recommend that gender-sensitive clauses such as days off for menstruation should be negotiated in the collective agreement of our members.
Finally, we thank management for nominating us to represent the union in this very important training program that will build our capacity to better serve our members.
6.0 UNI GLOBAL EXCHANGE PROGRAMME
To mobilize the Hair and Beauty sector, UNI Africa organized a virtual session of views exchange with unions from the Hair and beauty sector in Europe on 28 February 2022 from 9.00 – 11.00 GMT. The discussion was about health and safety in the sector and organizing. For this training session, each union was requested to nominate 5 members from their Hair and Beauty sector.
The Following Sisters from Ghana Hairdressers and Beauticians Association (GHABA)
participated in the training session;
|1.||Sister Offei Yirenkyi||GHABA National President|
|2.||Sister Afia Amankwah||GHABA National Vice President|
|3.||Sister Stella Botchway||GHABA National Secretary|
|4.||Sister Dina Aidoo||GHABA National Assistant Secretary|
|5.||Sister Felicia Kwarteng||GHABA National Treasurer|
7.0 WORKSHOP TO SENSITIZE WORKERS OF TWIFO OIL PALM PLANTATION TOWARDS DEVELOPING AN EFFECTIVE SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY
This workshop was a follow-up on an ongoing project between the National Union and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) under the name “The Palm Oil Project”. In September 2022, we undertook a similar exercise that focused on the Occupational Health and Safety of farm workers among others. Sexual harassment, all other things being equal, is a workplace safety issue.
This workshop was undertaken on 28th February 2023, involving 40 workers. The main focus, this time, was on how the union can help to put in place an effective Sexual Harassment policy at the workplace.
The International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Convention No. 190 (C190) on Violence and Harassment, legislation adopted in 2019 that attempts to formalize the process of addressing Gender Base violence and Harassment (GBVH) at the international level, Described as “the first international treaty on violence and harassment in the world of work,” C190 officially took effect in June 2021. It addresses the critical issue of gender-based discrimination in the world of work, which has often been left out in other provisions on violence and harassment despite its key role in daily work-life.
Sexual harassment (SH) as a concept has no single definition. Many similar views and perceptions exist on what constitutes SH. For example, according to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNDFW) the phrase “Sexual Harassment” in its widest sense refers to: “Unwelcome or unwanted verbal, non-verbal, physical or visual conduct based on sex or of a sexual nature; the acceptance or rejection of which affects an individual’s employment”.
Article One of Convention 190 defines violence and harassment in the world of work as “a range of unacceptable behaviors and practices or threats thereof, whether a single occurrence or repeated, that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm”—which includes GBVH. Gender-based violence and harassment is then defined as “violence and harassment directed at persons because of their sex or gender, or affecting persons of a particular sex or gender disproportionately.” This includes sexual harassment.
This workshop focused on the definition of sexual harassment as per ILO’s Convention No. 190 regarding Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and how to Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.
Participants were taught that a working environment or workplace culture that is sexually permeated or hostile will also amount to sexual harassment. Factors emerging from the case law which may indicate a potentially hostile environment include the display of obscene or pornographic materials, general sexual banter, crude conversation or innuendo, and offensive jokes. The following were listed as Examples of sexually harassing behavior that all must endeavor to know and take steps to stay away from:
|· unwelcome touching;|
· staring or leering;
· suggestive comments or jokes;
· sexually explicit pictures or posters;
· unwanted invitations to go out on dates;
· requests for sex;
· intrusive questions about a person’s private life or body;
· unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person;
· insults or taunts based on sex;
· sexually explicit physical contact; and
· sexually explicit emails or SMS text messages
the following were discussed at the workshop
· Dynamics Of Sexual Harassment
· Categories Of Sexual Harassment
· Effects Of Sexual Harassment
· Impact of Sexual Harassment on Victim
· Impact of Sexual Harassment on Organization/Employers
· Impact of Sexual Harassment on Society
· Stopping Sexual Harassment
· Best Way to Prevent Sexual Harassment
· A Sexual Harassment Policy
· Distribution of the workplace sexual harassment policy
· Complaint Procedures
· Reporting Methods
· Examples of measures to correct the effects of harassment are:
· TOPP management’s preparedness to prevent gender-based violence and harassment
|After the discussion, we made time for a Q&A session with the workers. Various questions were asked. Some of the questions include:|
· How many times should an unwarranted action occur to be referred to as Harassment?
· How can one report on behalf of someone afraid to do the reporting themselves?
· Is it possible for a woman to Sexually harass a man in the world of work?
The IndustriALL Sub Sahara African Region organized a national-level workshop for Sub Sahara Africa Energy Network members in Nigeria from Tuesday 4th to Wednesday 5th October 2022. Sister Esinam Poku represented ICU-Ghana.
The objective of the workshop was:
n To establish national-level platforms for engagement on energy issues,
n Strengthen women and youth participation in energy policy influencing whilst advancing a just transition and workers’ rights in the energy sector
n Develop the capacities of SSAEN members organizing in the oil and gas sector on Global Framework Agreements. (GFA’s)