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01.06.2004 Regional News

Wa teachers demonstrate against SSNIT Pension

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Wa, May 31, GNA - Teachers within the Wa Municipality on Monday took their turn in a series of demonstrations being embarked upon by Teachers throughout the country, to buttress their demand for the restoration of the CAP 30 Pension Scheme.

About 200 Teachers, who wore red arm bands, demonstrated through the major streets of Wa wielding placards some of which read: "CAP 30 is Feasible J.H. Mensah"; "Teachers You are in The Majority in Parliament, Talk for us" and "Even Our Colonial Masters Maintained CAP 30".

In a petition to the Upper West Regional Minister, Mr Sahanun Mogtari, the Teachers said apart from "bitterness, frustration, demoralisation, utter disgrace and premature death, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Pension Scheme had nothing to offer beneficiaries".

They called on the Government to take a serious view of the situation and restore the CAP 30 Scheme to them. "Regardless of the relative merits of each scheme, the fact remains that the Government's CAP 30 Pension Scheme is qualitatively superior to the SSNIT Scheme."

The petition said depriving Teachers and others of the CAP 30 Scheme, while retaining it for the Armed Forces, Police Service, Prisons Service, Universities and Research Institutions, not only constituted an act of discrimination, but also violated their economic and human rights as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.

"It is both legally wrong and morally indefensible to condemn one-half of the public services to poverty, begging, bitterness and total disgrace while the other half enjoys a decent standard of living, good pension and better social protection."

Receiving the petition, Mr Mogtari said the Government was committed to ensuring that all workers including Teachers lived in dignity after retirement.

He asked them to remain calm while things were being sorted out, adding that Teachers provided the human resource base of the country and would, therefore, never be neglected.

At Bole in the Northern Region the Bole District Chief Executive, Alhaji Sulemana Adams Achanso urged teachers to be patient and to go back to the classroom to wait for the Government to decide on their demand for the restoration of CAP 30.

He said once the CAP 30 Pension Scheme was one of the major issues discussed at the National Economic Dialogue, held in Accra recently, the Government would definitely take a look at it.

Alhaji Achanso was addressing Teachers in Bole after they had gone on a three-hour peaceful demonstration to press home their demand on the Government to replace the SSNIT Scheme with CAP 30.

The DCE told the Teachers that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government was one that had the people at heart, and was always prepared to listen to their plight as this served as its prime objective of ensuring a peaceful environment for the rapid development of the country.

Presenting their petition to the DCE for onwards transmission to the President of Ghana, the District Ghana National Association Of Teachers (GNAT) Chairman, Mr Gabriel Kunche said CAP 30 Pension Scheme for Professional Teachers, was an occupational right earned by Teachers and pre-dated independence.

He said CAP 30 should have been enhanced and not scrapped or varied to the disadvantage of Teachers.

Mr Kunche noted that the Civil Service Pension Scheme CAP 30 was not a policy derived from the benevolence, or charity of the Colonial Administration, but rather a policy reflecting good governance, prudent human resource management and the recognition of the need for the employer to provide for the security, social protection and upkeep of an employee in retirement after rendering dedicated, obedient and loyal services to the State.

He stressed that the deprivation of teachers of CAP 30 and its retention for the Armed Force, Police, Prisons, Legal Services and others did not only constitute an act of discrimination, but violated their economic and human rights. They, therefore, called for its immediate restoration for teachers and other workers in the country to alleviate part of their suffering when they retired after dedicated service to the State. 31 May 04