Labour Standards Application in Ghana: Influences, Patterns and Solutions

  • Angela Akorsu

Student thesis: Phd


The debased condition under which people work is pervasive in contemporary societies and is especially ubiquitous in the so-called developing world. Yet, internationally recognized standards for the regulation of working conditions abound and are often applauded, without the passion for their application. Otherwise, why should a country like Ghana, which has one of the highest numbers of ratified labour standards conventions, continue to be fraught with poor working conditions? This undoubtedly simple but fundamental question is what this study sought to answer. Earlier attempts to answer this question have suffered from the lack of rich empirical data and compelling theoretical convictions. In view of this, "Labour Standards Application in Ghana: Influences, Patterns and Solutions" may be considered a valuable contribution to the treatise of the labour standards phenomenon. Theoretically, the study collates salient aspects of both the market-oriented neo-classical and the non-market institutional and political-economy perspectives into an integrated model for the conceptualization of the labour standards phenomenon in Ghana. A combination of the quantitative and qualitative research strategies is then adopted for primary data collection in view of their respective epistemological and ontological implications. Specifically, a survey, which requires a large sample size to aid the generalisation of the existing patterns in the application of labour standards is used and complimented with interviews and observations to facilitate in-depth and contextual analyses of the issues under study.This thesis is therefore a presentation of a thoroughly researched and argued study of the influences on, patterns of, and solutions to, the labour standards problem. With regard to the macro level influences, the study has shown that continuous external influences in the form of the World Bank and the IMF policies, with their emphasis on economic growth, erodes the very fabric of the society and Ghana's capacity to turn workers away from victims of economic growth to dignified citizens. Meanwhile, what is needed to create wealth - which may be fairly distributed, is a dignified working class. Particularly as it relates to the patterns of labour standards application, the study provides a compelling reason for the conclusion that working conditions in Ghana are poor and that it is misleading to put all multinational corporations and local firms together and make blanket statements as to whether or not they apply labour standards. This is because a number of factors, such as the country of origin, determine whether they apply labour standards or not. Regarding solutions, the revelation is that, the solutions to the labour standards problem proposed in the literature and in use in many developed countries are simply not workable in Ghana. Deliberative recommendations are therefore presented, in a context specific fashion, to ensure that labour standards application in Ghana is not just rhetoric but a reality. This way, the labour standards problem will be minimised and the working people of Ghana will be treated as worthy of the decency and dignity due all humans.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorFang Cooke (Supervisor) & David Beale (Supervisor)


  • Labour Standards, Ghana

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