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18.02.2005 Regional News

CSAG reacts to demonstration against deductions

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Koforidua, Feb.18, GNA - The Eastern Regional Secretary of the Civil Servants Association of Ghana (CSAG), Mr Thomas Dwira, has described the demonstration held by the New Juaben Assembly staff to demand for a 10,000- cedi deduction from their salary, as an "unfortunate action" since the two sides were still in dialogue to resolve the issue.

According to him, the action seemed to portray the association as unlawfully taking their money "but they gave their consent before we started the deduction, so if anything, they should exercise restraint in their demand for a refund".

Reacting to the Thursday demonstration in an interview with the deduction to be stopped and moneys refunded.

He said the association had no objection to their right to pull out of the mutual health insurance "because they are entitled to freedom of association "but the right procedure must be followed in their bid to opt out".

The Regional Secretary claimed despite the agitation, some of the staff of the assembly had registered with the CSAG's proposed mutual health insurance scheme and were issued with membership cards "since the deduction did not automatically make one a member until the one filled the registration form.

According to Mr Dwirah, he had requested that all those who wanted their money back should sign a resolution to that effect "but that seemed to have delayed the issue because it is not true that all of them in unison have decided to opt out of the scheme as it is been presented by the leaders".

On the accusation of sabotaging the NHIS, the secretary to the board of the CSAG Mutual Health Insurance, Mr Osman Silbaway, argued that the operation of the NHIS allowed for mutual insurance as the association proposed to do to compliment the national scheme to cater for the informal sector.

He contended that the mutual health insurance scheme of the CSAG was "a supplementary scheme to fill the gaps of the NHIS", saying their contribution of 10,000 cedis a month catered for the contributor, the spouse, dependants of up to age 25 and covered all ailments, "whiles the NHIS covers only the contributor, a dependant of age 18 and does not cover all ailment".

Mr Silbaway, therefore, denied the workers' argument that contributing the 10,000 cedis and being a SSNIT contributor at the same time meant double payment of premiums "but rather, it gives the person a hundred per cent coverage of health insurance, since where the NHIS would not cover you, the mutual health insurance does".

Meanwhile, the CSA secretariat had convened a meeting with the Regional Co-ordinating Director and the leaders of the staff of the Municipal Assembly to find a solution to the problem. Feb. 18, 05

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