The Forum for Public Sector Registered Pension Schemes has for the second time, scheduled a strike action to advocate for an increase in retirement packages for its members.
The strike is also to demand that current retirees are paid their past credits by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust. The strike, according to the forum for public sector registered pension scheme, is scheduled for October 28.
“The patience of the Forum has indeed been tested to the full. Therefore, the Forum has decided to revisit its action and has informed the National Labour Commission, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the Ministry of Finance on Friday, October 16, 2020, that our teaming members from the Ghana Education Service, health sector, the Judicial Service as well as the Civil Service and Local Government Service to commence its solidarity strike on October 28, 2020,” said Isaac Bampoe, Chairman of the Forum for Public Sector Registered Pension Schemes.
“We call on the general public to support our action to bring home the sordid plights of our retirees as regards the past credit paid to them by SSNIT. These senior citizens should not be condemned to their fate and should not be caused to suffer for no fault of theirs,” he further said.
The fight for change
Over the years, there have been calls by many (especially retirees of the public sector) for SSNIT to improve their living conditions by increasing their lump-sum benefits.
Trying to keep up with medical bills and affording necessities such as food and permanent shelter has been the plight and cry for most retirees.
It’s for this reason that The Forum for Public Sector Registered Pension Schemes has for the past month been fighting for an increment in pension benefits. It has however yielded no results.
According to the group, SSNIT has not been complying with directives of the National Pension Act, 2008 (Act 766 as amended) which provided a pension reform in the country by the introduction of a contributory three-tier pension scheme namely:
• 1st Tier which is a benefit and mandatory scheme for workers to have 13.5% contributions made on their behalf.
• 2nd Tier, a “contributory Occupational Pension Scheme mandatory for workers with 5% contribution of gross income made on behalf of members.”
• 3rd Tier, a voluntary scheme that includes all Provident Funds and all other Pension Funds outside Tier 1 and Tier 2,
The group is thus calling for a better-paying structure under the above-named schemes and transfer past credits to the respective approved trusts.
In an interview last year, the Director-General of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori Tenkorang said pension benefits are little due to low contributions. At the time, it was reported that 82% of pensioners earn less than GH¢1000.00 a month.
“The benefits that have been prescribed by law anchors the benefit that you pay on the salaries on which you contributed, so, if you contribute on low salaries or if you dodge your contributions, you don’t expect to get much. You get what you put in,” said Dr. Ofori Tenkorang.
Yaw Korankye, a Pension expert, in a Ghana Talks Business webinar with the caption “How to Ensure if Your Pension is Adequate” explained how retirees can ensure they receive maximum benefits from their retirement packages. In the webinar, he emphasized the need to diversify retirement options, pay retirement contributions early, and make an adjustment to a lavish lifestyle.