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Ghana Workers Continue Strike over Pension Concerns

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama file photo.

The general secretary of the Ghana Medical Association says public sector workers will continue their indefinite strike action this week to pressure President John Dramani Mahama’s government to address their concern about their pensions.

Public sector workers on strike include, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers and other civil servants. Hospitals and health centers across the country have been reportedly deserted, due to the labor action.

The government said the ongoing strike is illegal and has launched a legal challenge in court.

But, the GMA secretary general, Dr. Justice Yankson said the administration is to blame for the strike.

“The strike is still in force and is going to continue until we’ve come to such a point that we’ve been able to resolve the issue,” said Yankson.

Officials have said the workers should trust their pension with the government. But Yankson disagreed, saying the administration has yet to win the confidence of public sector workers about their pension.

According to Yankson, the government is not respecting the law, which stipulates that the second tier of pensions be privately managed with guidelines provided by the National Pension Regulatory Authority

“What we are saying is that government should give all those monies that have accrued, since the year January 2010 to the scheme that has been set up by the workers and their management in accordance with the laws of the land. So, that is where the bone of contention is,” said Yankson.

“People are going to retire this January, [and] each of them is entitled to pension benefits from this new arrangement. But, these people have no idea where to go for their pensions, who to go to, or how much are even accrued to them,” Yankson said. “Government should wash off its hands from our funds and let the ... system that the regulatory body has put in place function properly.”

He insists the strike will proceed, despite the government’s legal challenge.

“For us we will just wait till the court decides that the strike is illegal, so be it. But, we wouldn’t take anything from the government as our strike that has been duly embarked on by the workers being termed illegal, we wouldn’t accept that at all,” said Yankson.

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