Let’s Test The Pensions Law

IT is disturbing that there is no end in sight for the week-long strike action by Organised Labour over the Second Tier Pension impasse.

This is because the unions have, so far, refused to return to work, despite the court order to do so.

The government has also resolved not to give in to the workers demand, insisting that it has the right to engage trustees of its choice to handle the Second Tier Pension for public sector workers.

About 12 Labour Unions have embarked on a nationwide strike against the government’s decision to manage the second tier, saying it contravenes the Pensions Law.

The government exasperated by the workers stance, went to court and secured an interlocutory injunction to compel them to return to work.

The disagreement over the management of the Second Tier Pension and the defiant posture of the workers do not bode well for industrial harmony in the country.

Besides, it sends wrong signals for investment and the country’s development.

The Times is disappointed that a week after the declaration of the nationwide strike, the gulf between the government and Organised Labour seems to be widening rather than closing, with the turn of each day.

More worrisome is the fact that the press conference held by the government, represented by the Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, appeared to suggest that enough consultation was done before the decision to manage the Second-Tier Pension funds was taken.

“The government did not unilaterally impose a trustee on public sector workers. The decision to manage the Tier Two Pension Fund was done in consultation with the workers,” he said, and warned that “The demand by the Labour Unions to choose trustees for the Tier Two Pensions will leave the future of workers, especially when they retire, at the mercy of private interests, who cannot provide the same guarantee for the citizens’ welfare, compared to what the government provides.”

These are sound moral arguments put out by the government, and they makes a lot of sense, but what does the law says?

Viewed against many pensions which go bust in the advanced countries, it is prudent for us to tread cautiously in the face of the advice government is giving. We can understand the workers’ apprehension, because of the mistrust of government and its agencies, with the handling of public funds.

It is important, however, for the two parties to find a middle ground on managing the pension funds, and that should be the law court.

The country cannot afford to go on suffering from a protracted strike action, with its attendant hardships on the people.

It is important for the impasse to be resolved as quickly as possible, for the sake of national cohesion and development. Would the court be the way to go?

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