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26.03.2009 General News

Employers Assoc Speaks On ESB Issue

By Francis Xah -
Employers Assoc Speaks On ESB Issue

The acting Executive Director of Ghana Employers' Association (GEA) Mr Alex Frimpong has thrown more light on the issue of End-of-Service Benefits (ESBs) for workers explaining that the scheme was reintroduced in 2002 and not restored as was attributed to the TUC secretary-General Kofi Asamoah. Speaking with the Times in an interview on Wednesday, Mr Frimpong said the ESB was re-introduced after it was abolished following a press release signed by Mr D.S. Boateng, PNDC Secretary for Mobilisation, and Mr A.K. Yankey the then Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), on December 19, 1990.

The Times on Wednesday, quoted the TUC Secretary-General as saying that the ESB had been restored since 2002 and unions were free to negotiate with their employers its re-introduction.

Mr Frimpong said after it was scrapped, workers, especially those in the private sector, after negotiations, were paid their ESBs before expunging that clause from their collective agreements.

He said after these payments, the chapter on ESBs had been closed in the country at that time before being re-introduced in 2002.

He said the communiqué issued by the Tripartite Committee in 2002, said that in negotiating for the new end-of-service benefit scheme, the parties should be guided by the following :

The new ESB scheme should be such that it would not endanger the financial viability of the enterprise that is ability of employers to pay the ESB.

Employees should, as much as possible, have access to benefits under the new ESB scheme when leaving the service of their employer.

The parties at the enterprise level are encouraged to explore the possibilities of modifying the operations of existing supplementary schemes with a view to emphasising their terminal character.

Mr Frimpong said “the GEA was not against the social security of employees after they have retired”, referring to the ESB.

“We have always said that apart from social security contributions from employers, any other scheme must be contributory in nature, before such a scheme could be sustained,” he said.

Mr Frimpong reminded the workers and the TUC that the factors that necessitated the abrogation of the ESB in 1990, still existed, which included.

 As the magnitude of the total amount involved, its payment and overall effect on national economy.

He was also of the view that, large sums of money paid to constitutional office holders under Article 71 of the Constitution, should not form the basis for other workers to also demand ESBs.

He said “there are different categories of employees, working under different conditions of service”.

“If for example Members of Parliament (MPs) do not pay Social Security contributions, how do they become terminal scheme workers after just four years?” he asked.

He said the conditions of service and nature of employment of MPs is that, their term of office expires after four years and that is what they have accepted to do.