We’ll engage organised labour on debt exchange programme – Ofori-Atta

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has indicated the government’s willingness to engage Organised Labour over their concerns on the debt exchange programme.

Several labour unions including the Trades Union Congress have kicked against the imposition of cuts on pension funds as part of the debt exchange programme aimed at supporting the country’s economic recovery.

They include the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Ghana Chamber of Commerce and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The unions have therefore vowed to resist any attempt by the government to reduce the value of pension funds of their members which are in institutional bonds.

The TUC on Monday said its members would not be part of a programme that would worsen their plight and further plunge them into unimaginable hardship.

Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, said: “ The TUC and all our affiliates have decided that the pension funds of our members will not be part of the Debt Exchange Programme…within one week, the government should ensure that all pension funds including SSNIT funds be exempted,” he said.

But speaking to Journalists on Tuesday, Mr Ofori-Atta said the government will continue to engage organised labour and come to a mutual understanding with them before the deadline for the debt exchange programme.

“We are certainly listening, we have had a lot of engagements and we will continue with the unions and really also all of us asking ourselves whether an orderly process to where we want to go is what we all seek and within that what sacrifices and burden sharing that we have,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.