The General Secretary of the Industrial Commercial Workers Union (ICU) says the Labour and Employment Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, must take his time to understand the issues and concerns of workers on the controversial second tier pension schemes and stop chastising them.
Solomon Kotei is convinced the minister, having taken over the position only this year, does not appear to understand the issues pertaining to the second tier pension scheme and is relying heavily on “grammar” to make his case.
Mr. Kotei was speaking on Metro TV’s Goodevening Ghana programme, Thursday.
Public Sector unions,?12 of them, including the Ghana Education Service (GES), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) Ghana Medical Association (GMA) Judicial Service Workers Union, etc have all laid down their tools in protest over government’s handling of the tier two pension scheme.
The strike, which started slow, appears to be hitting a crescendo with patients being turned away from hospitals because there are no doctors and nurses on duty, and pupils loitering on school campounds because there are no teachers to teach them.
Government has criticised the decision by the workers to lay down their tools, describing it as illegal.
Sector minister Haruna Iddrisu in an interview said government will not shirk its responsibility by leaving the second tier pension schemes in the hands of individual trade unions and their fund managers.
Per the new Pensions Law, SSNIT is to take a chunk of savings of workers with five per cent of the savings handed to another fund manager.
Government has set up the Pensions Alliance to handle the five per cent for and on behalf of worker unions, until such a time that individual fund managers are appropriately licensed and equipped to manage the fund.
But the workers say the Pensions Alliance option is an imposition on them. They say they would rather have their individual fund managers manage their five per cent than have another government entity manage it for them.
Christian Addae Poku, President of NAGRAT said with less than three months to go for the first batch of workers to go on retirement under the new law, they do not know how much the second tier scheme has grossed neither have they been given any statement.
The workers say the strike is to put pressure on the government to buck down on its management of the scheme and give them the free hand to manage their own funds with individually appointed fund managers.
Solomon Kotei said while members of the ICU are still at work, they will be forced to join their colleagues on strike if government does not by November this year, provide them with statements of the five per cent contributions from 2010-2012.
He explained that they managed to get their own fund managers who have received the five per cent contributions between 2012 till now, but they will still need details of the contribution from 2010 to 2012 to add up.