NDP Urges Govt To Dialogue With Striking Workers

The National Democratic Party (NDP) has expressed serious reservations about how the government is handling workers’ pension. According to the NDP, it is unreasonable for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which prides itself as a social democratic party, to engage in a legal tussle with the labour force over pension benefits. Currently, the government has sued 12 labour groups over their strike to protest against the government’s decision to manage their second tier pension funds. The workers argue that the management of their funds by the government was in contravention of the pension law. However, the government is praying the High Court that the indefinite strike embarked upon by the public sector workers is illegal and that they should return to work. Relatedly, teachers across the country have withdrawn their services over unresolved grievances, including unpaid allowances. NDP’s view In an interview, the Communication Director of the NDP, Mr Owusu Bempah, pointed out that the NDC party came to power on the mantra to deliver social justice but in reality, “It was meting out social injustice to workers.”. He, therefore, urged the government to go back to the negotiating table and dialogue with workers in honesty. “As a social democratic, the NDC government must rather intensify its dialogue with workers instead of dragging them to court,” he stated. According to Mr Bempah, if the government had been sincere and proactive with the demands of workers, they would not have embarked on the strike to back their demands. What the government had succeeded in doing, Mr Bempah opined, was to put in the minds of workers that the government was spiting them by bulldozing its way to the courts to intimidate them to abandon the strike. Social justice Mr Bempah recalled that when the NDC came to the political scene with the slogans of probity, accountability and social justice, it was the workers front who supported and rooted for them . “Ghanaian workers should now take a second look at the NDC, which professes to take inspiration from its roots as a social democratic party but yet has fracas with the ordinary people,” he warned. Mr Bempah described the brouhaha over the second pension as a perfect case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, as the government was insensitive to the plight of ordinary workers who most often go on retirement on meagre salaries. He said if workers had any major worries, it was the imprudent management of their pension funds, which normally are their only source of income when they retire from public and civil service. He said it was worrying that when it came to the welfare of ordinary Ghanaians, the government was quick to stamp its authority and drag its feet, but strangely government officials found it easier to access their entitlement even after working for just four years as MPs and government appointees. NDP preparation About preparation the NDP was making towards the 2016 election, Mr Bempah gave the assurance that it was formidable and getting ready to win political power from the NDC in 2016. He said the NDP had adopted “submarine tactics,” where it was working on the quiet and would eventually emerge as the biggest political force to engage in battle in the 2016 polls.