A scheduled strike over tier two pension funds by the 12 labour unions has been temporarily suspended, awaiting the decision of a joint technical team task to look for answers to resolve the issue.

Speaking to Joy News’ Emefa Apawu on the Newsnight programme, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr Justice Yankson, said the decision was arrived at during a marathon meeting held by the unions.

The unions threatened to strike on Friday in protest over government’s handling of their tier two pension contributions.

According to the unions, their contributions have illegally been held at the Bank of Ghana since 2010, and they want the monies released.

The unions include the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the Civil and Local Government Staff Association (CLOGSAG), and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT).

As a result of that threat, a joint nine-member technical committee was set up comprising government and some leadership of the union to deliberate on the concerns put forth. 

Dr Yankson explained that “after their press release, government and the leadership of the group have held several meetings.

“We have gotten to the point where between government and the unions, a joint nine-member technical committee has been set up and is supposed to come out with a final report to resolve this matter in three weeks [ ending October 10]," he disclosed.

He said this made the union reconsider its decision to act in good faith and to enable the technical committee to finish its work.

According to him, they believe that government is commited to resolving the issue once and for all.

He also hoped there would be a roadmap for the transfer of the funds would have been agreed upon. 

Background

Government intends to settle the workers’ Tier 2 pension with bonds, however, the workers disagree as the unions want their funds released to them instead of the bonds as the bonds could take too long to mature.

Tier 2 is a mandatory contributory scheme with monthly contributions of 5% on the basic salary of all employees.

Tier 2 is a defined contribution scheme and contributions are fully tax-exempt and are privately managed by National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) licensed service providers.

In 2014, the labour unions laid down their tools to make similar demands and were sued by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), government, to end the strike that resulted in a shutdown of most public institutions.

They challenged the Finance Ministry’s decision to use Pension Alliance Trust as a sole trustee of the second tier pension scheme for all employees on the government payroll.

 

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