The government is racing against time as it takes steps to avoid a general strike threatened by 12 labour unions over their Tier 2 pension funds.
Currently, the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) is fast-tracking the process of transferring the pension funds to four accredited fund managers to beat the September 29 deadline set by the unions to strike.
The 12 Public Sector Workers’ Unions last week declared to embark on an indefinite strike on September 29, if their Tier two pension scheme monies are not transferred from the Bank of Ghana to their Fund Managers.
According to them, the government was acting in bad faith regarding the transfer of the funds to their four registered fund managers.
Operating under a body known as “The Forum for Public Sector Registered Pension Schemes” the unions are demanding an audited report of the Temporary Pension Fund Account (TPFA) since it was lodged at Bank of Ghana to be made available to their four registered Fund Managers without any further delay.
Since then, a series of meetings among the Ministries of Finance, Employment & Labour Relations, Bank of Ghana, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), and NPRA have taken place to advance the fund transfer process.
Mr Emmanuel Dagbanu, Corporate Affairs Manager of NPRA, told ADR Daily that “the process is underway.”
He declined to offer details of how much would be transferred and to which fund managers, except to say that “we are working on it.”
However, sources at the NPRA and Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations indicated to ADR Daily that directed all the relevant agencies to work to ensure that the strike is averted.
Addressing a press conference in Accra last week, Isaac Bampoe-Addo, Chairman of the Forum said members were frustrated and disappointed at the manner government and its agencies have reneged on its adherence to the out of court settlement in February 2016.
Members of the labour Forum include the Health Services Workers’ Union, Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, Ghana Medical Association, Ghana Physician Assistants Association, Ghana Hospital Pharmacists Association and Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anesthetists.
Others are the Ghana National Association of Teachers, Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union, National Association of Graduate Teachers, Coalition of Concerned Teachers, Ghana, Civil and Local Government Staff Association Ghana, and Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana
Mr Bampoe-Addo said it has been almost one and a half years since all parties agreed on some guidelines with regards to implementing the transfer of the funds from Bank of Ghana to their various fund managers saying, “The situation as it stands speaks volumes of lack of good faith from government.”
He said the Forum has decided to embark on an indefinite strike over the issue since the government on a series of occasions has remained silence whenever the subject was broached.
“After an earlier press conference due to the deafening silence from the government on the issue raised, the forum got its lawyers to write to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations as well as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in August 2017 drawing attention to current challenges confronting the implementation of the TIER 2 pension in public services, but none of them bothered to respond.”
He said the Forum has been pushing for the fund to be transferred to their managers since under the defined contribution scheme; the risk falls on the contributor, and his ultimate benefits depend on earnings from investments saying,” The delay in the release of the funds will not augur well for retirees.”
Mr Bampoe-Addo said that notwithstanding the auditing of the TPFA, part payment for the four schemes should be deemed as the first step in the refund of the arrears.
“The remaining balance in the TPFA should be negotiated in good faith with reference to Act 766 as amended and the out of court settlement in February 2016,” he said.
By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com