Workers Go Wild In Kumasi

A section of the protesting workers
Public sector workers of 12 labour unions in the country poured onto the streets of Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, yesterday to protest against government’s decision to select Pensions Alliance Trust to manage their Tier 2 Pension Funds.

‘We simply demand the release of our accrued pension money into our various schemes,’ Ahena-Quashie, in-charge of Compensation and Working Condition at the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), stated during the protest march. According to him, workers had resolved to embark on a series of protests to press home their demand, adding that “We shall continue our protests until our demand is met.”

The protesters, drawn from the 12 unions, marched through the principal streets of the city and shouted anti-government slogans before converging at the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) where leaders took turns to address them.

They chanted, ‘We can’t allow Mahama to manage our life savings.”

The unions, including the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana, Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU), Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) and the Health Service Workers Union (HSWU), embarked on the demonstration.

The workers had previously decided to embark on an indefinite strike but government proceeded to court to have the action declared illegal.

Government had selected the Pensions Alliance Trust to manage the public sector tier two funds, but the various unions had selected some private companies to manage their schemes.

The Health Sector Occupational Scheme, the Ghana Education Service Occupational Pension Scheme, the Judicial Service Occupational Pension Scheme and the Hedge Master Trust Occupational Pension Scheme have been set up by HSWU, GNAT, JUSAG and CLOSAG members respectively to manage their funds.

Yesterday’s action partially shut down businesses at the central business district of Kumasi, while several public schools were deserted by pupils and teachers.

The angry workers, some of who were holding several placards, questioned government’s ability to manage their tier two pension funds, noting that they could not entrust their future into the hands of government after it had poorly managed the National Health Insurance Scheme and the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA).

C.K. Adum-Nti, Ashanti Regional Secretary of GNAT, told the protesters that their demands were non-negotiable.

‘The contributions of workers have gone waste, which makes us apprehensive about government’s sincerity in the selection of Pensions Alliance Trust as managers of the funds,’ he said.

‘The signal is clear, people are angry and livid. This government’s decision is totally unbalanced and unfathomable,’ Raynods Ofosu Tinkoran, one of the organisers of the demonstration, told DAILY GUIDE.

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 From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi

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