Public sector workers under the umbrella of Forum for Public Sector Associations and Unions (FORUM) are threatening labour unrest over what they describe as the Social Security and National Insurance Trust’s (SSNIT) deliberate refusal to comply with a National Labour Commission (NLC) ruling on the payment of past credit.
The FORUM and SSNIT have been in disagreement for over a decade on the payment of past credit; while SSNIT has explained that they have executed their duties per what the law describes, the FORUM insists some of its members have been shortchanged while others have not been attended to by SSNIT.
Past Credit is simply funds that remained with SSNIT after the coming into force of the new Pension’s Act, which required the scheme to transfer 4 percent of pensioners’ funds to the second-tier fund managers. What this means is that the 17.5 percent of workers’ salary that was initially paid to SSNIT was slashed to 13.5 percent, with the remaining 4 percent paid to the fund managers.
However, workers who had already paid the 17.5 percent to SSNIT before the new Act came into force on December 31, 2009, did not have their accumulated 4 percent transferred to fund managers by SSNIT.
In June, 2020 the FORUM announced a strike action in connection with the payment of past credit but they were forced to backtrack as the NLC intervened in July, 2020. The terms of settlement between the government and the FORUM was subsequently adopted as consent ruling by the National Labour Commission in October, 2020.
Among the moves by government to solve the issues was an agreement for the transfer of past credits to respective public sector schemes per the law.
Also, there was to be a determination of the difference in “the lump sum payments between beneficiaries of Social Security Act, 1991 (PNDCL 247) and the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766 as amended) from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020” for payment to be initiated from the 2021 Budget are still pending.
According to the FORUM, which is the biggest platform for public sector workers, they should not be blamed if government machinery grinds to a halt due to the impending strike action as all relevant bodies have been engaged to ensure that SSNIT comply with the NLC ruling but to no avail.
The Chairman of the FORUM, Issac Bampoe Addo in an interview with the B&FT said: “The demand from the FORUM is very simple, we want the consent ruling from the National Labour Commission to be complied with. And we have waited for far too long to allow for any further delay. Most affected pensioners are either moaning or crying over their outstanding pension earnings that are likely to occur if the consent ruling was to be used in its totality to calculate pensions for retirees,” he said. The FORUM is requesting an end to these pension problems.
“For us, the process for complying has been unduly delayed. The FORUM, at its meeting held on May 25 has decided that by June 8, if these issues per the National Labour Commission consent ruling have not been resolved, we would advise ourselves,” Mr. Bampoe Addo said.
The FORUM for Public Sector Associations and Unions has been registered as a Federation of Trade Unions as the third Trade Centre in Ghana since September 3, 2020. It comprises the Civil and Local Government Staff Association (CLOGSAG); Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT); Ghana Medical Association (GMA); Ghana Registered Nurses’ and Midwives’ Association (GRNMA); National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT); Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG); Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT); and Ghana Hospitals Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA).