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26.03.2009 General News


By Francis Xah -

Kofi Asamoah, Secretary-General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress has reminded workers that the End-of-Serviced Benefit,  (ESB) has 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 have long been  paying ESB to their employees.

He lamented, however, that all TUC's efforts to get the ESB re-introduced for public sector workers have 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, have 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 (MPs) and high profile office holders are enjoying ESB, what prevents workers too from enjoying it?” he asked.

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

Workers' agitation  for its restoration, he 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 are  running a provident fund scheme for their workers,  who receive lump sums of money on their retirement.

He advised organisations 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 increase the retirement income security for workers and to ensure that contributors interests were adequately protected, the law has in-built safeguards against exploitation and cheating from fund managers.

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