Organized labour has called off its intended strike which was scheduled for Tuesday December 27, 2022.
The intended strike was to demand the exemption of pension funds of its workers in the ongoing debt exchange program.
The exclusion follows a meeting between Organised Labour, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the Finance Ministry, National Security Ministry and all other parties involved on Thursday, December 22.
Despite assurances of protecting the funds of citizenry by the government, various labour unions are concerned about the impact the debt exchange programme will have on pension funds.
Speaking at a press conference, Dr Yaw Baah, the General Secretary for Trade Unions Congress (TUC), revealed that the decision to call off the strike follows the agreement reached with government.
“We are pleased that after a very extensive engagement with government, it has now exempted all pension funds from the domestic exchange program. We have now signed an MoU. We thank government for listening to us. So, on the 27th of December, no body should stay at home because our demands and conditions have been met. So we are all going to work. No one should stay home.”Organised labour
Organised Labour including, the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG), and the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) had all refused to accept government’s attempt to include the pension funds in the debt exchange programme.
According to Organised Labour, it was against the law for the government to touch pension funds. While CLOGSAG and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) served notice that members would embark on an industrial action should the government fail to heed their call, the ICU also indicated that it would be compelled to join other labour unions to demonstrate against any such measures by the government.
As part of measures to revive the ailing economy, the government has also announced a suspension on payments of external debts.
Negotiation With Unions
Government exempted pension funds from the debt-restructuring exercise, bowing to pressure from several unions which had threatened to strike in a bid to preserve their members’ savings.
The decision to exempt pension funds from the debt exchange was taken on Thursday December 22, after a meeting with Organised Labour.
Addressing the media after signing a memorandum of understanding between the government and organised labour, Minister for Employment and labour relations, Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah, assured that government and the organised labour will work together to resolve all issues to make the programme successful towards the restoration of macroeconomic stability of the country.
After the meeting, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and Organised Labour, a seven-member committee was formed to explore technical solutions to bring the debt threshold back to sustainable limits.
The Committee comprised four representatives from Government and three representatives from Organised Labour. They are expected to submit a report on December 28.
“We believe that Government and Organised Labour can work together in the spirit of social partnerships to resolve all outstanding issues to make the Debt Exchange Programme successful towards restoration of macroeconomic stability and economic recovery,” the MoU noted.
Pension funds held 6% of domestic public debt worth 181 billion cedis ($20.1 billion) at the end of September, according to data from the Central Securities Depository.