JUST-IN: Organised Labour Declares Indefinite Strike On This Date [MORE DETAILS]
Organised Labour has proclaimed its intention to embark on an indefinite strike beginning December 27, 2022.
This was made known by the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Yaw Baah, at a press briefing on Monday. He said that the strike is being held as a result of the government’s decision to implement a debt swap scheme.
He said the walkout will last until the government exempts pension funds from the proposed debt swap scheme. Labour Unions present at the briefing were; the Ghana National Association of Teachers l, the Ghana Medical Association, the University Teachers Association of Ghana, the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association of Ghana and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union.
TUC has already advised government to spare its members’ pension funds from the debt swap plan. They believe the scheme will jeopardize the stability of their retirement income.
“…we have evaluated the debt exchange scheme and after a comprehensive review of the project and a very long debate among the leadership of TUC and affiliates, our decision is extremely clear. And it is that the project would significantly affect the pension savings of our members and therefore their retirement income security,” he stated. “Our pension is already inadequate, and we would have expected our government to go to great lengths to defend the meager pension we have. Instead, they are implementing a policy influenced by the International Monetary Fund to reduce pension income even further.
Therefore, the Trades Union Congress and all its affiliates have determined that the pension funds of our members will not be part of the domestic debt swap plan,” he said.
Dr. Baah went on to say that the Union has written to the Minister of Finance requesting that all pension funds invested in government bonds be withdrawn from the internal exchange scheme. “…we are also requesting in that letter that within one week from today, the government should officially state that all pension funds, including SSNIT are exempted from the debt swap plan.
Again, we have served notice in the letter that if the government does not respond to our demands within one week, we will advise ourselves,” Dr Baah stated.
It should be noted that the government unveiled a debt restructuring plan on December 5, 2022. The goal, according to Ken Ofori-Atta, is “to invite domestic debt holders to voluntarily swap about GH137 billion of the Republic’s domestic notes and bonds, including E.S.L.A. and Daakye bonds, for a package of New Bonds to be issued by the Republic.” Bondholders including pension funds, banks and insurance businesses will have to exchange their bonds for one that will receive zero income next year.
The new bonds will only begin to collect five per cent interest in 2024 and 10 per cent for the balance of their term. The maturity dates have also been pushed out, with the first bonds due to mature in 2027.