News Health Services Workers Union Tells Gov’t Not To Touch Their Pensions
Health Services Workers Union

Health Services Workers Union

The Health Services Workers Union (HSWU) has advised the Government not to touch the Pensions Fund of workers to allow the existing industrial peace in the country to prevail.

The Union said it had got wind of the resolve by the government, based on a meeting held between the Bank of Ghana, Ministry of Finance, and some stakeholders, to implement a “hair cut” on the Pensions Fund.

Mr Franklin Owusu Ansah, the General Secretary, HSWU, who announced this at a press briefing, said should government go ahead with that plan, it would put the pensions of workers at risk.

“We are on this premise assuring government that the Health Services Workers Union will resist any attempt to cut anything from the pensions of its members…if government finds it so important to do the debt restructuring, we will urge it to ring-fence the Pension Funds.”

“Ghanaian workers cannot continue suffering to the grave…Enough is enough,” he said.

He said an attempt by the Government to touch the Funds in the quest to restructure debts would mean that it was tampering with the present and future of workers, who had the “hope of sacrificing today to have a better tomorrow”.
“After the Finance Minister presented the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, a lot of worrying issues emerged and have since agitated the minds of the leadership and members of the HSWU”.

Paramount to that, he said, was the debt restructuring for domestic bondholders in terms of interest payment.
Bondholders are said to receive zero interest rate in 2023, five per cent in 2024, and 10 per cent in 2025.
Mr Ansah said in addition to that government was going to forward or extend the tenure of all maturing bonds by 10 years.

“All these unfolding events bring shivers to the spine of our members who have struggled all these years with meagre salaries. This brings to question the principle of investment and savings”.

He said workers were made to believe that there would be no “hair cut” on Pension Funds, to which the President reaffirmed and reassured the Ghanaian worker.

“Workers and for that matter our members have all these years accumulated their pensions to optimise standards of living and ensure a proper balance between spending and saving during different phases of their lives.”

The promulgation of the new Pensions Act, Act 766, was to resolve the problem of inadequate and low pensions of workers, he said, with the Second Tier designed primarily to give contributors higher lump sum benefits.
‘’In the light of this, anything short of that will be calamitous to workers”.

Workers were already feeling the heat of high inflation rate, hovering around 40.4 per cent; high lending rate of about 33 per cent; increase in taxes; and reviewing of upper limit of income tax from 30 per cent to 35 per cent among low salaries, Mr Ansah said.

He commended the HSWU for the continuous sacrifices and calmness during these difficult moments and reiterated leadership’s commitment to continuing to mount the pressure until the Pension Funds were safe. -GNA

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