Organised Labour To Go On Strike Over Debt Exchange Programme

by Isaac Mintah
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Organised Labour has called on members to embark on indefinite strike starting Tuesday, December 27 over government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.

Spokesperson for the group Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, who doubles as the Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) indicated they want government to grant them their request of exempting pensions of workers from the Programme recently launched.

“We are asking government to exempt us from the debt exchange programme.

“We asking all workers in Ghana to stay at home. We’ll stay at home until we hear that government has exempted pension from the debts exchange programme,” Dr. Baah told the Press at a conference in Accra on Monday, December 19, 2022.

He explained, “We have already told the world that if government doesn’t do that, we will advise ourselves. Today, we are here to announce the advice.

“The advice is very simple. We have all agreed that because the government has refused to grant our request, we have decided firmly that all workers of Ghana are going to strike on December 27, 2022, and we will be on strike until our demands are met.”

The Government’s initiation of the Programme last December 5 2022 has been countered with stiff resistance from Organised Labour.

Most of the worker unions argue government did not engage them before rolling out the policy, whose implementation date has been moved to Friday, December 30 over the controversies stirred.

Under the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, domestic bondholders will be asked to exchange their instruments for new ones.

According to Government all existing domestic bonds as of Thursday, December 1 will be exchanged for a set of four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032 and 2037.

It means the annual coupon on all of those bonds will be set at 0% in 2023, 5% in 2024 and 10% from 2025 until maturity with coupon payments done semiannually.

Organised labour has requested assurances from government that pensions will not be affected but it has remained silent on this.

Engagements are underway to make the Programme successful.

Government is suspending the servicing of some external debts due to the deterioration of the economy, which has been taken to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for rescue.

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