Health workers advised to plan towards retirement
Mr Franklin Owusu Ansah, Head of the Research and Policy Department of Health Services Workers’ Union (HSWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) gave the advice in a presentation at a symposium in Sunyani.
The symposium, under the theme: “Social Protection, the Backbone to Quality Life before and during Retirement,” was organised by the Brong-Ahafo Regional branch of HSWU as part of the celebration of the mother Union’s 46th anniversary.
The topic is “International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions on Social Protection” with particular reference to enforcement of No. 102 on Social Security and No. 158 on termination of employment at the initiative of employment.
Other speakers were Mrs Adwoa Abebrese, Regional Manager, and Mr Eugene Boakye, Public Relations Officer, of the Brong-Ahafo Regional office of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
Mr Ansah emphasized that effective preparation towards retirement should be a key task for any worker to avoid set-backs on retirement and suggested such preparations should be started at least 10 years before retirement.
There can be no meaningful quality life for a worker without social protection, hence ILO Laws have spelt out in its Conventions on issues concerning worker and employer relationship, Mr Ansah added.
Mr Ansah explained at length a number of Labour Acts or Laws established to protect unionized workers in the country, saying leadership of HSWU was doing its best to intervene on behalf of workers in all spheres of unionized matters.
He said the leadership of the mother Union would not turn its back to workers who were to reciprocate by playing the complementary role in that regard to enable the national secretariat to, in conjunction with the regional leadership of the Union, conveniently work for the general good of workers.
He enlightened workers about efforts being made by his outfit to ensure health workers would be migrated onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and gave the assurance that the final implementation of the policy would attract a back pay from January 2010, the official implementation date.
Mr Ansah explained that there were still some knotty points to be cleared as some beneficiary workers of the new structure had expressed misgivings after they received their salaries due to lapses detected in implementation.
He said the national leadership of the union would not want similar distortions in the HSWU workers’ salaries under the SSSS and was patiently waiting to ensure the meticulous application of mechanisms for approval.
“We will not accept anything that will rather make our members become worse off,” Mr Ansah said, adding, “We are here to serve you and serve you better. There are basic problems that need to be cleared so we will not rush and have problems later”.
Mrs Abebrese explained that it was not the responsibility of the Trust to retire a worker but rather the employer, saying SSNIT only advised itself in that regard on receiving a letter from an employer to that effect.
Mr Boakye explained that even though the normal payment of the entitlements of a pensioner by the Trust was three months after pension, improper records of the affected pensioner made that administrative order impossible.
He appealed to workers still at post to streamline their registration and other related documents to avoid such embarrassment on retirement.
He mentioned that incorrect name, date of birth, marital status, next of kin and other particulars of a worker could withhold a pensioner’s pension pay till everything was investigated and cleared.
Miss Benedicta Azigeda, HSWU Brong-Ahafo Regional Industrial Relations Officer, later told Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that the union also organised blood donation at the regional hospital in Sunyani and a health walk as part of the celebration.