Faced with a slew of retiring workers, the Health Workers' Union  says it is sizing up the option of a demonstration to force government to release payment of the second tier pension contributions of its members.

In a press statement issued Monday, leadership of the Union expressed grave concern that the second tier contributions of health workers are still lodged at the Bank of Ghana instead of being lodged with their service providers.

At the heart of the second tier pension funds controversy is who should appoint a pensions fund manager – employer or employees.

Under the 2nd tier, the private fund must be registered by employers in consultation with employees.

The workers who under the National Pension Act (2008) are required to contribute 5.5% of their earnings into private funds believe they should call the shots when it comes to choosing a pension funds manager.

Government — the employer — disagrees setting up a stalemate that has stalled progress on the management of the second tier occupational pension scheme.

The press statement from the Health Workers' Union also warned of a crippling industrial unrest if government fails to release their second tier pension contributions with immediate effect.

According to the leaders, the option of a demonstration to address their grievance follows many unsuccessful appeals to the Presidency to allow their chosen pension fund managers to run their pensions.

The Health workers are not the only group worried about the health of their pension funds.

The Ghana National Association of Teachers in July warned government to keep its hands off the management of the pension contribution of its members or else it will hit the streets.

Deputy General Secretary in charge of Administration and Labour Relations at GNAT Awotwe Nkansah asked government to authorize the transfer of pensions funds to the pension schemes operated by individual labour unions.

The scheme was designed primarily to give contributors higher lump sum benefits than presently available under the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) or Cap 30 pension schemes.

The fear among workers is that, without investing this pension cash, they stand to lose out on proposed payment of a lump sum under the scheme after retirement.

The union says most of their members will be going on retirement early next year yet no institutional arrangement had been put in place to ensure that they benefitted from the lump sum.

They want the matter addressed immediately to avoid industrial unrest.

 

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