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Government’s reaction to expatriates humiliating Ghanaian workers is awful, tepid and frankly, a little too late.


Stories of abuse and maltreatment of Ghanaian workers by some foreign employees of foreign entities operating in the country are becoming common place, and they are just as upsetting as they are an affront to the dignity of all Ghanaians.

As a developing country with scant technological know-how and the financial wherewithal, Ghana depends extensively on foreign aid and oftentimes, the aid comes in the form of foreign entities bringing their expertise and knowledge to the country to move it along its development trajectory.

To date, two egregious cases of maltreatment of Ghanaian workers…..I describe them as violence against Ghanaian worker…. have captured the attention of the public and triggered a belated reaction from authorities.

The first case involved a foreign worker of a company called Logistic Limited chaining a Ghanaian employee to a container in the hot baking sun for allegedly slacking/loitering on the job.

Not to be outdone, a South Korean owner of a Peter Pan Pizza restaurant in Accra is reported to have struck a Ghanaian female supervisor of the outfit with a hot slice of pizza for not being attentive enough as a pizza burned in the oven.

Outrageous as these acts are, they have attracted little attention because it is the accepted norm in Ghana for foreign companies to violate our national labor laws without fear of being heavily fined and sternly penalized.

I ascribe the nauseating treatment of Ghanaian workers by some foreigners to a perception that is so prevalent among non-Africans. Long before they step foot on the continent, a place they derisively refer to as the dark continent, they see the place as profoundly lacking in development with its inhabitants  still trapped in the stone age.

Non-Africans sincerely believe Africans are at the other end of the civilization curve and therefore ought to be treated with pity mix in with scorn and condescension.

So, be that as it may, when they descend on our continent ostensibly to do some good, they are already predisposed to treating us shabbily and the incidences mentioned prior, are ample testimony to this objectionable behavior

Of course people burdened with this mentality will straightforward deny these charges, but it is a realism currently being manifested in the poor treatment of Ghanaian workers.

This, unfortunately, is a pattern that is repeated elsewhere on the continent. It is no strange coincidence that the Chinese in Zambia have been accused of doling out harsh treatment to their workers.

In addition to their prejudiced tendencies, the Italian and South Korean expatriates who abused our fellow Ghanaians were emboldened by the cozy relations that exist between them and those who are supposed to enforce our labor laws.

It is a relationship that is influenced largely by fear on the part of our authorities of losing valuable foreign investment and turning off potential investors. Yes, I am pointing the finger at our government for enabling these expatriates to take the law into their hands

Given the foregoing arguments, one wonders what if the government had reacted proactively and stridently to the first stories of maltreatment of Ghanaian workers by their foreign employers, these abuses probably would have been stopped altogether or minimized.

However, the government has not demonstrated the willingness to deal harshly with expatriate companies whose foreign employers engage in the disgraceful acts of humiliating Ghanaian workers. Why didn’t authorities exert bring its power and influence to bear the issue until now?

The Labor minister perhaps no longer able to turn a blind eye to these acts of violence against Ghanaian workers announced that he will propose the revoking of foreign zone licenses of foreign companies whose expatriate employees humiliate and abuse Ghanaian workers.

But whether this is enough to deter expatriates determined to teach their Ghanaian workers a lesson about work ethics is debatable. The government’s posture has been confounding and hypocritical and I think its reaction is a little too late to forestall future abuses.

We should expect the rather ugly behavior exhibited by the Italian and South Korean expatriates to continue, largely because our government does not have the backbone to bring the hammer down heavily on those foreigners who maltreat our fellow Ghanaians.




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