Labour Unions urged to advocate enhanced salaries for better pension

The Chief Actuary of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Mr Joshua Poku, has urged labour unions to advocate enhanced salaries to ensure better pension benefits.

According to Mr Poku, most labour unions rather advocate for more allowances during negotiations, which were outside of their basic salaries on which contribution were paid pensions as well, adding that their basic salaries were rather left unenhanced.

“As SSNIT, we insure salaries and so what you give us is what will determine the pensions we pay to you and so I will urge them, if it is possible, they should consolidate the allowances they negotiate for with their salaries so that their salaries would be enhanced for better pensions,” he said.

Mr Poku made these statements during an engagement held in Koforidua by SSNIT for regional and district leaders of the Trade Union Congress.

The engagement was to enable SSNIT to educate the participants on the scheme and deal with misconceptions on contributions towards SSNIT and pension scheme.

Mr Poku further stated that paying enhanced salaries would guarantee increased pension and hence advised the labour unions to have pensions in mind during negotiations and “not focus just on their present circumstances.”

Mr Poku said the meeting which was being organised in collaboration with the national executives of the TUC formed part of the Trust’s efforts to improve public knowledge about its operations.

That, he said “would help to address concerns of members, clarify misconceptions about operations of the Trust, improve transparency and accountability and enhance stakeholder buy-in.”

In his presentation, he indicated that, currently 25 per cent of workers on the scheme pay monthly contributions of GHS 55 or less and further noted that if these workers retired on the basic salaries of Ghc 500 or less, they would retire on a monthly pension of GHc300.

For his part, the Deputy Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Joshua Ansah, said it was necessary that workers salaries were enhanced to ensure better pensions, hence their demand for better salaries.

“What you put in is what you get. So if you don’t get good salary all this time, you should expect bad pensions in the future,” he added.

The Deputy Secretary General pointed out their demands for the COLA and other conditions of service would be unfazed by comments from a section of the public.

“You gave us four per cent in 2021, seven per cent in 2022, what is the inflation rate now? We are back to zero. So if we are asking 20 per cent of COLA to cushion us whiles we negotiate for 2023, why should anyone say it’s a wrong time? Then that person is not a Ghanaian. Workers are suffering,” he lamented.

He commended Management of SSNIT for improving transparency and entreated members of the TUC to take full advantage of the engagement and ask questions to better gain understanding and clarity on the scheme.

Madam Agnes Mills, a participant, commended SSNIT for organising the stakeholder meeting and stated that such meeting would help members to become better informed about the scheme which would enable them to educate others.

FROM AMA TEKYIWAA AMPADU AGYEMAN, KOFORIDUA

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