A Study of Labour Unrest in Ghana (1900 To 2008)

Thumbnail Image
October, 2015
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The choice of this theme of research arose out of persistent calls by workers and civil society groups for the government to institute measures aimed at ending the labour agitations in Ghana in 2008. The study assesses labour unrest in the country from 1900. The study examines the culture of protest among workers in Ghana. It examines how worker associations were formed to protect the interest of workers in the colonial and post-colonial period. It further traces the development of trade unionism in the country. Also, it examines the role of the British Colonial authority in the development of industrial relations in the country. A major issue that was examined was the use of Industrial Relations Acts and the security forces by the British authorities to disband strikes. Ghana which before independence on 6th March 1957 was known as the Gold Coast has experienced frequent changes in government. The country has gone through periods of colonial, civilian and military rule. The colonial authorities until 1950 had succeeded in preventing trade unions from aligning themselves with the nationalist movements. The labour unions that existed at the time were largely unsuccessful as collective bargaining agents. There existed several trade unions with limited memberships. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) formed a friendship with the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) through close working relationship. This alliance which ensured the prosperity of the TUC, however, became costly to the union with the change in government. Although the Industrial Relations Act 1965 gave legal status to strikes, 2000 employees of the Cargo Handling Company Limited were locked out in 1968 for embarking on a strike. Also, the Progress Party (PP) regime dissolved the TUC by an Act of Parliament in 1971. It was the National Redemption Council (NRC) military regime that restored the TUC in 1972. These changes have affected the entire country’s labour relations to date. In evaluating and analyzing the labour policies in the country, the thesis offers suggestions on how to achieve capital labour harmony to ensure economic growth. It establishes the need for workers’ rights to be protected to ensure economic development.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of History and Political Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Historical Studies