TUC proposes basic income grant for the aged

Mr. Kofi Asamoah - TUC Secretary-General
Mr. Kofi Asamoah – TUC Secretary-General

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), on Wednesday proposed to government to consider introducing Basic Income Grant for those who are 60 years and above and are not on pension.

Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General said this in a speech read on his behalf at the May Day celebration in Accra, on the theme: “Pension: It’s your right and your responsibility.”

He proposed that the basic income grant should be equal to the inflation –adjusted nutrition-based national poverty line and should be increased on regular basis in line with increases in cost of living.

“By so doing we can lift our fathers, mothers and grandparents out of poverty, disease, destitution and squalor,” she said.

Mr Asamoah observed that the basic income grant is achievable and Ghana like many other developing countries could provide adequate social protection for the vulnerable with less than three per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.

He stated that, a new pension law has introduced a three-tier pension and the first tier which is the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) scheme is the basic pension for all those who are in formal employment.

“In addition to the SSNIT pension, workers can also earn more retirement income from the second and third tier pension schemes during retirement and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that these occupational, privately-managed schemes are manage well for a decent lump-sum when one retires,” he explained.

Mr Asamoah said even though some gains have been made in the last three years in terms of salary increases for public workers, it has become the target of incessant attack from some politicians called for a stop to the assault.

He also proposed that all public office holders specified under both Articles 71 and 190 of the 1992 Constitution are placed on the same salary structure of public workers.

President John Dramani Mahama whose speech was read on his behalf said pension is the right of every worker and government would support and promote the right of workers for adequate retirement benefits.

“Pension is your right not because it sounds like a nice slogan, but because the monies paid to you upon retirement are in reality, part of your own income… deferred to protect you at old age and in your retirement years,” he said.

President Mahama challenged the TUC to submit an elaborate proposal on how the basic income grant or social pensions should be funded for the elderly population to benefit.

“Government is willing and happy to engage organised labour on how we can collectively address the vulnerabilities of the less privileged in our society and we welcome any ideas and policy options,” he said.

He said, government has as an employer had for a very long time pay striking workers as a demonstration of industrial goodwill but recent development on the labour front suggest the goodwill is not only abused but under attack by its beneficiaries.

“It is about time we followed the practice in other countries that places the onus on those who declare strike actions to shoulder the burden of wages and salaries of their members for the duration of their industrial actions”, he said.

He said, government would through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations collaborate with the TUC and the Ghana Employers Association to intensify public sensitisation on the provisions of the Labour Act to improve workers understanding of the Labour Law in resolving industrial dispute.

Source: GNA

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