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The GTUC as a central co-ordinating body for 14 union groups in 1945. The unions were registered under the Trade Union Ordinance of 1941. In 1954, the union proposed that the local unions be amalgamated along industrial groupings to make the union strong. The proposal was approved in 1955. The union had 24 member unions in 1958 and was regulated by the Industrial Relations Act 56. The first elections of the GTUC was held in 1966 after Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana was overthrown. The election was conducted to replace the union leaders who were under detention under the National Liberation Council. In 1971, the GTUC was dissolved as the sole trades union congress after parliament, led by the Busia government, passed Act 383. The Act was repealed by the I.K. Acheampong government in the same year. The union's executives were replaced in a "coup d'etat" in 1983 by an Interim Management Committee at the instance of the Association of Local Unions (ALU) of the Greater Accra Region. The union in 1984 held it national congress to restore it existence and restored its constitutionality.
The membership of the organization is made up of all workers' group. A local union is formed by any five members at a work place. Various local groups which share common objectives form a national group - a local group. The local union upon formally registering with the TUC is admitted as a member of the group.
The union's functions include:
In 2007, the member strength of the union was about 350,000 members.
The GTUC is affiliated with various international trade union organizations, including the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA).