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25.03.2009 General News

ESB restored since 2002 - TUC

By Ghanaian Times
ESB restored since 2002 - TUC


Kofi Asamoah, Secretary-General of Ghana Trades Union Congress has reminded workers that End of Service Benefits (ESBs), have been restored since 2002, and that workers have the right to raise the matter and discuss it with their employers.

“Unions are free to negotiate for its restoration with their employers," he said.

Mr Asamoah, who was speaking to the Times in an interview yesterday, said some private sector enterprises had long been paying ESB to their employees.

He lamented, however, that all effort by the TUC's to get the ESB re-introduced for public sector workers had not been fruitful.

"We are, appealing to His Excellency to intervene for the sake of fairness, so that all public sector workers can enjoy ESB, which is currently being enjoyed by only those constitutional office holders under Article 71 of the constitution," he said.

Mr Asamoah said workers, especially those in the public sector, had become agitated, when they heard about the huge sums of money Members of Parliament and other office holders were to take home after only four years in office.

"If Members of Parliament and high profile office holders are enjoying ESB what prevents workers too from enjoying it?" he asked.

The ESB for public sector workers was frozen in the early 1990s by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).

Workers' agitation for its restoration, Mr Asamoah said, started in 2001 after some lump sums of money in the form of ESB were paid to MPs and former President Jerry Rawlings as well as members of the NDC government.

He said it was as a result of that agitation that the ESB was re-introduced on September 2, 2002 through a communiqué. Signatories to the communiqué were Mrs Cecilia V.L Bannerman, Minister for Manpower Development and Employment, Mr Ato Ampiah, president of the Ghana Employers Association, for employers, and Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, TUC Secretary-General on behalf of organised labour.

Mr Asamoah explained that some organisations were running a provident fund scheme for their workers who receive lump sums of money on their retirement.

He advised organizations that could not readily pay ESB to take advantage of the new three-tier pension scheme, under the National Pensions Act 2008.

Mr Asamoah said the three-tier pension scheme enhanced pension benefits and increased the retirement income security for workers to ensure that contributors' interest was adequately protected. The law has inbuilt safeguards against exploitation and cheating from fund managers.

Mr Asamoah said the Cap 30 scheme had been found to be unsustainable and would be phased out within four years from the commencement of the new pension law.

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