Ghana has some of the highest wages in Africa, according to the International Labour Organisation.
It has been criticised for its low labour standards and wage theft, with workers at the country’s factories earning as little as 1,000 reais ($50).
Now, as more than 50 million people live in poverty, a new report by the trade union federation says there is a need to raise wages for low-paid workers.
The trade union Unite, which represents workers in construction, manufacturing, agricultural and tourism, said the minimum wage needed to be raised from the current 1,600 reais to 1,900 reais in 2019.
The report, titled Ghana’s Unconditional Basic Income, is a plea to raise the minimum rate of pay to the highest level in the country.
“We have a long history of low wages in the construction sector,” said Unite secretary general Emanuele Cunha.
“It’s a common story across the globe.
People get jobs and get wages, but they don’t earn enough to support their families.
We need to address this issue so that everyone can afford a decent standard of living.”
Cunha, who is also a member of the Ghana Trade Union Federation, said there was a shortage of labour in Ghana’s construction sector.
“The situation is not good.
People have not been paid the minimum wages,” he said.”
When people come to work in construction they don´t get paid the right wages, and we need to increase the wages to make sure that everybody can get a living wage.”
Unite is calling for the government to provide a living allowance for all Ghanaian workers.
“Workers are not getting enough wages and we are asking the government for more wage guarantees,” Cunham said.
The country has one of the world’s lowest labour market participation rates, according the World Bank, and a high proportion of its young people are in the labour force.
In recent years, the country has seen a number of high-profile attacks on migrant workers, including the brutal killing of a migrant worker, Haji Omar Nwambika, who was stabbed to death in April 2018.
The number of migrant workers is at its lowest level in almost 20 years.