Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, has pleaded with teacher unions to exercise some more restraint as government plans to expedite payment of their Tier-2 pension arrears.
This follows an earlier accusation by the Teacher unions including the National Association of Graduate Teachers, the Coalition of Concerned Teachers, and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) of government’s failure to in the pay their Tier 2 pensions amounting to over GH¢400 million.
The unions also accused the Ministry of Employment for failing to respond to letters on the same subject.
Mr. Bright Wireko-Brobby who is the Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations revealed this in Citi FM’s Eye Witness News as he assured engaging with the Teacher Unions to fast-track it.
Adding that owing pension payments is not criminal.
Mr. Bright Wireku-Brobby advised the teachers to engage with government rather than having such discourse in the media space.
This is not the first time we’ve been in arrears, but it is not something that government will renege on. I beg them, we should engage. We acknowledge that we are in arrears. I plead with my teacher unions to exercise restraint. Everybody knows what the country is going through. We will start engaging them and see how we can bridge the gap,
I am taken aback a bit because these are issues that are not new to us, and we keep resolving them and I wanted to even ask the teachers the rationale for taking this to the public domain. My attention was drawn to it this morning, but who doesn’t know that we are in a financial crisis now? What matters to us most is to be able to pay every worker at the end of the month and that is what we have been doing.
He also assured that the arrears will be paid with time but not at the moment since pensions are not for immediate usage.
Pensions have a history, and we contribute to it for the future. What is important in these difficult times is that, every worker must be paid every month and that is what we have been doing, and we have been paying them timely since COVID-19 came. Pensions are not too problematic because it’s for the future, we find money and pay it, and now we are in arrears. We admit we are in arrears and that is not a matter to escalate to the media when we have acknowledged that we will pay, and it is not criminal to owe.
Harsh economic conditions in the country have impinged the government’s ability to discharge its financial obligations as well as reimburse institutions of funds it owes.
The Deputy Employment Minister has assured that his outfit will schedule a meeting with leadership of the teacher unions next week to find ways to resolve the debacle.