This thesis examines how the decline in the textile industry in Ghana has affected labour. Processes of neo- liberalization in the Ghanaian economy which comes in the form of Structural Adjustment Programmes have led to increased importation of goods in the country. Considering the merits of these changes, it has also laid the local industries bare to competition which is perceived to be unfair from outside the country. Workers and their unions are now in the cross-road, to save the industry from total collapse and at the same time to secure their place in the factories. Taking neoliberalism as the concept guiding this research, I identify the various ways in which the restructuring in the industries have affected the individual workers as well as their organizations by employing qualitative research methods.
This theoretically informed thesis has sought to explore the interrelationship that exist between the state , capital, and labour; and how in the context of the Ghanaian state , it has being at the mercy of international institutions who are not part of the state but can exert considerable influence on the state in terms of policies and implementations. Capital, which has become more mobile than labour, has being able to ‘put labour in place’ (Peck 1996) in the sense that workers have to compete among themselves for capital which then makes them more vulnerable.
History teaches us that the unions have always being there; and will always be. They are the only organizations that can fight for the course of workers. The unions representing the textile industry; even though may be now weak in their numbers as a result of massive loss of employment have not coiled in their shelves but rather has risen up again, and seeing themselves as part of the process have adopted new strategies to save the industry and their workers.
Many insights are drawn from this thesis; firstly, that neoliberalism is threatening to erode the gains that have been made by workers, secondly, the state does not provide a safety net anymore and thirdly, the workers and the unions themselves have to take up the mantle if they are to win the fight over capitalism at different levels of production.