Ghanaian Trade Unionism in Perspective

Suleman Lawani


Trade unionism as a combination of workmen to safeguard their collective good has been associated with industrial societies. That is, societies that have moved from agrarian economy to an industrial one. Although Ghana is not a fully industrial country the agitations of workmen collectively can be traced to the colonial era, especially with the establishment of government institutions and injection of European capital into the economy. Evidence of workmen agitations from the early period has been sketchy. However between the 1920s and 30s a number of strike actions by well-organized body of workers forced the colonial administration to examine critically issues of labour. It was in response to these agitations that the colonial government enacted the Gold Coast Trade Unions Ordinance, 1941 to regularize the activities of these unions.  The paper seeks to discuss chronologically the development of trade unionism in Gold Coast from its early stages before the use of western constructs, to describe it.

Keywords: Trade Unionism, Gold Coast, Ghana, Labour, strike

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