The Eastern Regional chapter of the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) has called on the Education Ministry, Ghana Education Service (GES) and the State Insurance Company (SIC) to put their group insurance policy which started in June 2018 on hold to avoid open confrontation.
The group insurance policy was introduced to deduct the sum of GH¢10 from teachers salary every month.
The Eastern Regional Chairman of the CCT-Ghana, Mr Samuel Antwi registered their disapproval of the policy at a press conference last Friday, announcing that the association would take a strong decision about the policy if their grievances were not addressed.
He noted that in February 2018, SIC and GES announced a free insurance policy for all GES staff in which the government was to bear the cost, adding that they were shocked when in June 2018, each GES staff was deducted GH¢10 known as GES-SIC Group Insurance Policy.
“A promise of refund of the GH¢10 which was illegally deducted from the 320,000 GES employees; both teaching and non-teaching staff has not been refunded a year after deduction,” he said.
According to him, the position taken by SIC-Life that all teachers must fill an exit form to receive their refund did not make economic sense as it would cost the employee more than GH¢10 to travel from his place of work to the nearest GES or SIC offices to complete the exit form.
Mr Antwi further noted that in February, 2019, the Director General of the GES announced the continuation of the deduction at the end of April 2019, but with the intervention of the GES council chairman, CCT-Ghana and other key stakeholders, the deduction for April was halted.
He added that in the month of June this year, the Director-General of the GES launched the policy again, claiming it would be rolled out at the end of July 2019 and still without stakeholders’ consultations.
Mr Antwi said the union was surprised why the Controller and Accountant General Department would continue to breach the Third Party Reference System Agreement (TPRS) by allowing SIC to take their money without their consent.
“The GES is abusing our confidential information by using our data to exploit innocent employees,” he added.
Mr Antwi further noted that the insurance policy violated the Labour Act 651(Act 2003) clause 69 which stated categorically that no employer had the right to deduct any form of levy tax or whatsoever from a worker’s salary without his or her consent, adding that the premium was expensive and exploitative as the GH¢10 which was being charged now shall be reviewed as and when inflation jumps.
According to him, the staff must be sensitised on the policy for those interested to join.
“We have written to GES, SIC, the ministry and even had press conferences on this issue but to no avail,” he said, adding that it was becoming clear that the poor teachers’ money was being targeted by some unseen hands for reasons best known to them.
The Regional Chairman indicated that copies of the press release would be sent to the office of the President, Chief Executive Officer, National Insurance Commission, the Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, GES Council, the Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Executive Secretary, National Labour Commission and the General Secretaries of NPP and NDC.
By: Alberta Sarpong, Koforidua.