Don’t rush to sign Pensions Act — TUC

The Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), has again asked President John Mahama not to sign the amendment of the Pensions Act into law until the social partners and other stakeholders exhaust consultations on the proposed amendments.

Mr. Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General, who made the call on Wednesday, described the manner in which government was pursuing the amendment of the Pensions Act without the social partner’s consultation as “rushed and unilateral”.

“This issue should be the latest centre of struggle around which we galvanise to ensure the realisation of the Three-Tier Pension Scheme …we have drawn government’s attention to this fact…”

These were contained in a solidarity message, read on his behalf by Mr. Abu Kuntolu, Executive Secretary of the Health Workers Union, at the opening of the 12th Quadrennial Delegates’ Congress of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG), in Cape Coast.

The one-week congress with the theme, “The Three-Tier Pension Scheme should be a reality, not a mirage” is to review the association’s activities for the past four years and elect new national officers to steer its affairs for the next four years.

It is being attended by hundreds of delegates from across the country.

Mr. Asamoah also renewed the Union’s support for the struggle against what it described as government’s attempt to impose a scheme on public sector workers with the implementation of the Pensions Law.

He said the Union had not relented in its drive and support to ensure that the three-tier Pensions Scheme became a reality and it was struggling for pensions reforms with the objective of enhancing pensions for pensioners.

“The poor living conditions of pensioners in the country after dedicated service, should not be lost on us…the Three-Tier Pension Scheme should work again…this is a noble objective and nothing should undermine our efforts for improved pensions for pensioners,” he emphasised.

Mr. Asamoah said the Union was disappointed at the government’s decision to pursue a court resolution of the dispute arising from the imposition and had called on the government to withdraw the matter from court for it to be dealt with as a labour-union relations matter.

He described the objective for the fight for improved pension as noble, and urged workers not to allow anything to undermine their efforts in spite of the formative challenges it was facing.

Mr. Asamoah noted that in the era of trades union pluralism under freedom of association, membership participation in the activities of the union was key to sustaining membership enthusiasm, unity and solidarity.

The Minister of  Employment and Labour  Relations, Mr. Haruna  Iddrisu,  stated that the Pensions Reforms were intended to benefit retirees rather than to disadvantage them and so the Three-Tier Pension  Scheme would become  a reality  through the collective resolve  of all stakeholders.

He urged workers not to allow the initial operational and administrative  challenges  relating to the management of the tier two to make them despaired into thinking that the three-tier could be a mirage.

He said the government would continue to respect the Act 766 and all other legislations, which would guarantee respectable retirement benefits to all, and acknowledged that the unions were justified in their demand for better services after pension.

The Minister said there was no criminal matter at the courts against anyone or organised group of workers. “What government is seeking to do is to seek proper interpretation of sections of Act 766”.

The  Chairman of the Civil Service Council, Dr. Robert Dodoo, stated  that for labour unions to  win public sympathy, they should be seen to be committed  to increasing   productivity, maintaining discipline,  and enhancing  efficiency.

He called for dialogue and mutual respect between the employer and the employee; strict adherence to national and international labour laws and constant interactions in a free fair and transparent manner. —GNA

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