Govt must review position on pension fund – Haruna Iddrisu

Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu is persuading government to review its stance in the raging impasse with organized labour over the management of the Tier 2 pension fund.

Government and labour have for about four years held entrenched positions, but the tango, he felt, is unnecessarily affecting efforts to reach a consensus.

Speaking on Joy FM/MultiTV news analysis programme ”Newsfile” Saturday, Haruna Iddrisu said the issue on pension is a “complex and delicate matter touching the heart of persons who are vulnerable”, and must therefore not be joked with.

He also urged organized labour to soften its position while it goes ahead to negotiate with government.

Twelve public sector workers recently embarked on strike over the management of their pension fund, which compelled government to file an application at the court to declare the strike illegal as well as seek interpretation of the National Pensions Act 2008, Act 766. Government later succeeded in getting an ex-parte order to get labour back to work.

“I think that my appeal to labour is that strikes or demonstrations will not solve this problem. We ought to sit and dialogue further; make improvements in our respective positions,” he advised.

The minister further stated, “I have seen labour take a particular position – four schemes must manage this money – that has been their position in the last four years. Not negotiable, not helpful, and not healthy for negotiation.

“Government too has held on to a particular position to which I said maybe to reach out to labour, government would have to review its position in order to engage them [labour].”

Touching on government indebtedness to the pension fund to a tune of about 270 million, Haruna Iddrisu said the Finance Ministry and other government institutions including Controller and Accountant General’s Department and SSNIT are processing the arrears.

He found it strange that labour unions are acting as if they were not aware of the arrears when they have two representatives on the 10-member board of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority.

“Labour is well represented on the NPRA board, two of them, so nobody should create the impression that organized labour or the Forum does not know the happenings in terms of what has been paid and what has not been paid.”

He is also pushing for the amendment of the National Pensions Act 2008, Act 766.

“Amendment to the Act was necessary and compelling,” he asserted. Story by Ghana || Isaac Essel | [email protected] | twitter @isaacessel

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