The Forum for Public Sector Registered Pension Scheme has given the government up to September 29, this year, to transfer funds belonging to it from the Temporary Pension Fund Account (TPFA) with the Bank of Ghana (BOG) into the accounts of the four fund managers responsible for the public sector occupational pension scheme.
It said anything short of that directive would compel the forum to declare an indefinite strike, beginning from September 29, 2017.
“We reiterate our frustration and disappointment with the manner the government and its agencies have reneged on its commitment to an out-of-court settlement negotiated in February 2016,” the Chairman of the forum, Mr Isaac Bampoe Addo, stated.
He was speaking at a press conference organised by the forum to voice its displeasure with the way the government was handling pension funds due the forum.
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Membership of the forum
The forum, which is made up of unions and associations, comprise the Health Services Workers Union, the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the Ghana Physician Assistants Association and the Ghana Hospital Pharmacists Association.
The rest are the Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anaesthetists, the Ghana National Association of Teachers, the Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union (TEWU), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers-Ghana, the Civil and Local Government Staff Association (CLOGSAG) and the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSSAG).
According to Mr Addo, one and a half years had gone by since the judgement and transfer of an accumulated five per cent monthly deductions from its members for the tier two pension was lodged with the BoG.
He said in July 2017, the forum issued a press statement expressing the concerns of its members, but “due to deafening silence from the government regarding the issues raised, lawyers for the forum were compelled, in August 2017, to write to the ministers of Finance, Employment and Labour Relations and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice seeking answers”.
He said the letter sought to draw attention to the current challenges confronting implementation of the tier two pension scheme for the public services and which issues had still not been addressed.
Mr Addo noted that under a defined contribution scheme, the contributor’s benefits were at risk, depending on earnings from investments, therefore, any delay in releasing funds belonging to the forum would not augur well for retirees.
He said the forum demanded, therefore, that the audited report on the TPFA with the BoG must be released to the four fund managers of public sector schemes without further delay.
“Notwithstanding the TPFA which has been audited, part payments to the four fund managers must be deemed a first step in refunding arrears owed the forum.
“The remaining balance in the TPFA, with reference to Act 766, should be negotiated in good faith, as amended, in consonance with the out-of-court settlement reached in February 2016,” Mr Addo said.
He urged all public sector workers, under the circumstance, to be alert and close their ranks for an indefinite strike in the event of the government failing to meet the deadline given it.