An Accra Industrial and Labour Court yesterday struck out a suit filed by the 12 labour unions in the country to join the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to the tier-two pension management saga with the government.
According to the court, BoG’s name should be removed from the Tier 2 Pension case since what the 12 labour unions are praying for could amount to abuse of court.
In his ruling, which lasted for about 30 minutes, Justice Anthony Yeboah, who stood in for Justice Saeed Kweku Gyan ruled that: “Maintaining the BoG in the suit would constitute an abuse of the court.” The court stated that the laws governing the pension funds do not give the Bank of Ghana the mandate to manage the funds deposited with it or invest it.
However, counsel for the Bank of Ghana, Samuel Cudjoe, during proceedings told the court that the National Pensions Act does not give it the power to access or invest the funds and that BoG was only a custodian of the fund. Mr. Cudjoe added that, it was only the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) that has the power to access or invests the funds, therefore praying the court to direct the labour unions to find answers to the exact amount accrued from NPRA.
The court consequently, ordered that the counter claim filed against BoG, should be disjoined and struck out. The case, according to the court, has been adjourned sine die (indefinitely) because the parties involved must file new processes before the court will give a new date to hear the actual case.
The labour unions filed a counter-claim against the Bank of Ghana over the second-tier pension saga after government dragged the 12 unions to court over their intended industrial action last year. In their counter-claim, the labour unions prayed the court to direct the Bank of Ghana to disclose the exact amount in its custody.
The 12 labour unions are; Health Services Workers Union, Ghana Registered Nurses’ Association, Ghana Medical Association, Ghana Physician Assistants Association, Government and Hospital Pharmacists’ Association and Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anesthetists.
Others include Ghana National Association of Teachers, Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union, National Association of Graduate Teachers, Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Judicial Service Staff Association and Coalition of Concerned Teachers. Members of the 12 labour unions hit the streets in the regions after disagreements with the government over the management of the fund.
The demonstrations, which were held simultaneously in Accra and Kumasi, followed a strike action declared by the unions that crippled the nation. The unions said, they disagreed with government’s choice of a private trustee to manage the funds and wanted to be allowed to choose their own fund managers, but government held a different view.
The Mahama-led government argued that the future of the Ghanaian workers’ fund should not be left in the hands of private institutions that are not in a position to offer the same guarantee of trust as government, with regards to the management of the pension, but labour has rejected that position and accused the government of unilaterally imposing the Pensions Alliance Trust on them.
The government subsequently in an ex-parte motion dated October 31, 2014, prayed the court to stop the unions from continuing their strike action, to which the court duly granted conditionally, and urged the plaintiffs to serve the respondents accordingly.
In fulfillment of the court’s order, the government through the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice on November 10 2014, filed a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction seeking to restrain the labour unions from embarking on any strike action until the matter was resolved by the court which was sustained last year.
The workers, on their part also suspected that, the tier two pension funds have been tampered with but the Bank of Ghana filed an application seeking to dismiss the counter motion filed by the labour unions.
Source: The Chronicle
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