Organised Labour threaten strike over gov’t debt exchange program

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Labour has announced that it will go on an indefinite strike starting on December 27, 2022, in protest of the government’s plans to introduce a debt swap scheme.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) Secretary General, Dr. Yaw Baah, made this announcement on Monday during a news conference.

He said that the planned debt swap program’s exclusion of pension money will force the union to reverse its decision.

At the briefing were representatives from the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Ghana Medical Association, University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, and Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU).

The TUC previously requested that the government remove the pension funds of its members from the debt swap scheme.

They contend that the plan will have a detrimental impact on their retirement income’s security.

Following a comprehensive examination of the debt exchange scheme and a lengthy discussion among the TUC leadership and affiliates, Dr. Baah stated, “our conclusion is very firm. And it is that the programme will negatively affect the pension funds of our members and consequently their retirement income security.”

“Already, pension is low and we would have thought that our government will do everything to protect the small pension we have. Instead, they are introducing programme inspired by the International Monetary Fund to cut further pension income. Therefore, the Trades Union Congress and all its affiliates have decided that the pension funds of our members will not be part of the domestic debt exchange programme,” he argued.

Additionally, according to Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah, the Union has demanded in writing to the Minister of Finance that all pension funds with interests in government bonds be removed from the internal exchange program.

“we are also demanding in that letter that within one week from today, the government should publicly announce that all pension funds, including SSNIT are exempted from the debt exchange programme. Again, in the letter, we have served notice that if government fails to accede to our demands within one week, we will advise ourselves,” the TUC General Secretary stated.

The Domestic Debt Exchange Program’s enrollment deadline has been extended by the Ghanaian government to December 30, 2022.

According to Ken Mr. Ofori-Atta, minister of finance, the extension is necessary to address significant concerns raised by stakeholders.

He stated, “Following stakeholder engagement, government has decided to extend the expiration date for the domestic debt exchange plan until December 30, 2022.

Source: Ghanatodayonline.com

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