The Trades Union Congress (TUC)-Ghana has made a resolute commitment to advocate for an improved wages for Ghanaian workers, both in the formal and informal sectors.
The aim is to adjust the minimum wage to better align with the rising cost of living and, in turn, enhance pension benefits.
Preferably, TUC is advocating for a living wage to replace the current minimum wage in the country.
Currently, 5.5% of a worker’s salary is supposed to be deducted every month, and this amount is added to 13% of the worker’s basic salary. In total, this makes 18.5%, of which 13.5% is remitted to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for payment of tier 1 and 2 pension schemes.
Right now in Ghana, the highest paid Pensioner, a private businessman, receives GHC 169,725.89 monthly.
In sharp contrast, many other pensioners receive as little as GHC 400 a month.
Mr. Joshua Ansah, the Deputy General Secretary of TUC -Ghana attributes law pension benefit situation to the poor salary structure in the country.
He assured Ghanaian workers that the TUC leadership is actively engaging with the government to secure a more reasonable minimum wage package for all workers in 2024 and beyond.
This effort is aimed at enhancing financial security for workers and improving retirement planning for individuals in both the formal and informal sectors.
“We have taken into consideration to see how best we can improve salaries for workers so that they can pay a bigger premium to end them a better pension.Salaries in general have been very very low in this country and it started from Adams time, and we have been trying to increase earnings of workers in this country”.
He added “If we want a better pension then our basic salaries must also be big so it is something that the unions are taking into consideration that is why for some time now we have been clamoring for a living wage instead of a minimum wage. Living wage may increase the basic salaries of workers so when they pay their premium it will end them better pension in the future.”
Out of the 11.5 million labor force in Ghana, 9.9 million are actively employed, with 6.7 million being self-employed.
However, only 9% of the self – employed workforce is covered under a pension scheme, and out of that, a mere 0.85% (equivalent to 1.2 million individuals) are covered under the SSNIT scheme.
To address this gap, SSNIT has introduced a policy called the ‘Self Employment Enrollment Drive’ (SEED) in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The objective is to ensure that workers in the informal sector are enrolled into the pension scheme.
Speaking to journalists in Koforidua at the launch of the Self Employment, Enrollment Drive Dr. John Ofori Tinkorang , Director General of SSNIT said the initiative has resulted in a notable increase in informal sector enrollment on the scheme, rising from 14,000 to 57,000 in recent times.
He emphasized the importance of fulfilling these contributions to safeguard the financial future of workers and get other insurance benefits.
“If they(informal sector workers) too join us and pay their contributions they can have partial income replacement with annual increments till good Lord calls them home ,and even when they are working and God forbid they pass away before they attain the age of 60 we realized there are children and other love ones who depend on that person so they automatically get life insurance so when they are no more SSNIT take care of the people they left behind”.
Dr. Koranteng also revealed that “one other benefit that most people don’t know is while you are working if God forbids you were to become invalid meaning you have an accident or sickness and Doctors declare you as permanently disable and unable to engage in any gainful employment irrespective of how old you are SSNIT is supposed to replace the income that you have lost not for one year not for three years but for as long as you live”.
He also said contributors get Health Insurance for free.