The leadership of the Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana has threatened to take legal action against the government to demand the payment of Tier-two pension contributions to its members.
At a press briefing, the National Chairman of the Association, Mohammed Zakaria said the government was breaching the Pensions Act.
“Per the provision of the Act, the government has acted fraudulently and the union will take legal action against the government,” he contended.
Mr. Zakaria complained that most of its members “have served the universities and mother Ghana wholeheartedly between 25 and 30 years and gone home with a meagre amount of GHS3,000.”
The association announced a nationwide strike on January 2 strike over the outstanding Tier-two contributions of its retired members.
It is also demanding an improved market premium and non-basic allowance as well as the migration of public universities onto the Controller and Accountant General payroll system.
On February 2, it gave the government a 48-hour ultimatum on the matter.
Last week, the National Labour Commission told the union to call off its strike saying the association failed to exhaust all laid down procedures before declaring the strike.
But Mr. Zakaria said matters of law were non-negotiable.
He also said the union had never shied away from negotiations, accusing the government of acting in bad faith.
“It has always been the resolve the leadership of our union to engage the commission notwithstanding the bad faith exhibited by [the National Labour Commission] in the past.”
Mr. Zakaria also kicked against suggestion there were plans to withhold the salaries of striking union members.
“We are unfazed by threats and directives to uphold our salaries. Rather than resorting to such draconian tactics, we entreat the government to act fairly by addressing our grievances.”
He further threatened that the union will withdraw all essential services if there is an attempt to withhold salaries.
About Ghana’s pension tiers
The First Tier is the Basic National Social Security Scheme for all workers in Ghana. It is a defined benefit scheme and mandatory for workers to have 13.5% contributions made on their behalf.
The contribution is managed by SSNIT.
The Second Tier is a defined contributory Occupational Pension Scheme mandatory for workers with 5% contribution made on behalf of members. The contribution is managed privately by approved Trustees.
The Third Tier which includes all Provident Funds and all other Pension Funds outside Tiers I and II is a voluntary scheme.