Book on Precarious Work and the Future of Labour Launched

The book, titled: ”Crossing the Divide: Precarious Work and the Future of Labour ” was edited by Prof. Emeritus Edward Webster, University of Witwatersrand in South Africa; Prof. Akua Opokua Britwum, UCC; Sharit  Bhowmik,  Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, compares  precarious work in India, Ghana and South Africa.

The 280-page book shows how innovative organisational strategies are emerging in the Global South to bridge the widening divide between the formal and informal economy.

Additionally, It reveals among other things that in India, Ghana, and South Africa, workers in domestic service, unregulated factories, and home-based work face difficult conditions with little or no union representation. The book also points out how these vulnerable workers are engaging in a range of creative strategies to fight for decent work and living conditions.

The University Librarian, Dr. Anthony Cobblah, who launched the book, commended the authors for coming up with the book.

He said African scholars lacked visibility globally as a result of their failure to digitize their intellectual materials for members of the global academic community to easily access them.

In view of this, he advised the editors as a matter of urgency to produce the electronic version of the book to enhance their visibility worldwide.

According to him, statistics from the Web of Science show that about 10,000 scholarly works were produced in Ghana annually.

 The Librarian announced that plans were far advanced to establish a section on research support in the Sam Jonah Library to support researchers in the University.

The move, according to him, would help researchers to identify collaborators in their area of research and also  the provision of sources of funding to assist them in research data management.


 The Library would also provide free consultancy on scholarship application and assist researchers on the issues of intellectual property, among others, he added.

That, he maintained, would enable researchers to produce quality research output, thereby enhancing the visibility of the University worldwide.

He called for serious attention to the management of knowledge and knowledge resource in the University and, therefore, enjoined stakeholders to get involved in the management of knowledge resources.

The Sam Jonah Library, through Dr.  Cobblah, bought 10 copies of the book.

For his part, Prof. Emeritus Edward Webster, said around 1980, Ghana and some African countries opened their markets to international competition, increasing the number of industries in the countries.

He described the situation as premature de industrilisation, explaining that those countries “de industrilised” before developing their industries.

He encouraged the reading public to look at the South-South collaboration, productive activities between domestic work and homework, and the different kind of organisations in Mumbai, when reading.

On her part, Prof. Akua Opokua Britwum, urged the readers to look out for stereotypes of precarious informal market, disposition amongst India, South Africa and Ghana, trade unions responses in the various countries when reading the book.

She again encouraged the reading public to look out for the labour institutions and legislations, the political systems and the religious roles and the areas of municipal spaces and rural spaces like lands captured in the book.

Taking her turn, the Copy Editor, Karin Pampalis, said it took four years to complete the book.

She commended the untiring cooperation of authors, editors, reviewers and proofreaders for the immense roles they played in the production of the book.

In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, called for the promotion of ethnography in the University, bemoaning the increasing spate of quantitative research among colleagues to the disadvantage of qualitative research.

He advised researchers in the University to remain focus and find collaborators to extensively research in their fields.

The Vice-Chancellor urged members of the public to read the book and also advised the editors to make available the electronic version of the book for easy accessibility by the global academic community.

He bought two copies of the book.

The book launch was sponsored by Friedrich Evert Stiftung, the International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) and UCC.

Some notable personalities present at the launch included the Pro- Vice-Chancellor, Prof. George Oduro; the Registrar, Mr. John Kofi Nyan and the Director of Public Affairs, Major (rtd) Kofi Baah-Bentum.