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Refund our outstanding retirement contributions- HSWU appeals to Government

The Health Services Workers’ Union (HSWU) have called on the government to refund the outstanding contributions of their members’ retirement benefits to enable them enjoy their retirement.

Per information, the government still owes the Health Sector Occupational Pension Schemes for some months and it is affecting members’ retirement lump sum.

 John Paateri, Industrial Relations Officer (IRO) of HSWU in the Ashanti Region, on behalf Franklin Owusu Ansah, the General Secretary of the Health Services Workers’ Union of Trades Union Congress, Ghana, said this during the 2023 Union’s week celebration at the Manhyia Government Hospital in Kumasi.

The occasion was also used to clean the premises of the health facility at Manhyia government Hospital. The members were also trained on how to prepare brown sugar and detergents making.

He commended all hospital facilities in the nation that are implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Union, government and employers on some allowances for members, and called on all employers who were not complying to go by the MoU and implement it.

  These he believed were some of the motivations to encourage members to work hard for better growth.

On the implementation of the government and HSWU collective agreement, he urged to government to ensure and assist the health facilities to go by the agreement for it to be implemented fully.

The HSWU as part of its Union’s policy celebrates this day every September to give accounts on its Union’s policy, achievements and challenges every year. It is also a week to celebrate the contribution of the government, employers and members as well as bring to light issues of challenges affecting the country.

Touching on the theme for this year’s celebration is “Rising together for decent work in the digital age,” Mr. Paateri stated that global unions have since in 2014 identified the future world of work and digital transformation as a priority policy issue adding that, “recent years the transformation of the country’s economies have given the topic a new urgency in all sectors, especially the health sector.“

Workers, he added were not necessarily seeing the scope of their jobs change, but were being pushed to work harder and faster, through technology designed to squeeze the greatest effort from their every minute at work.

However, he opined  that the Union and the employer (Ministry of Health) as well as the government must be at the bargaining table to negotiate the impacts of these changes to ensure that the new work are safe, that workers have a wage with dignity, that schedules are fair, and that workers share in the gains of new efficiencies.

“We cannot talk about digitalization and not talk about the issues of public sectors outsourcing most of the jobs to private organizations. We believe this poses a serious challenge to our members who are still in the system as they work more with few workers. Some of the outsourcing sectors are hospital orderlies, security, catering services, drivers and to mention but a few,” he added.

He appealed to the Unions employers to give sufficient notice before technology is introduced to allow time for assessment relating to the impact on safety, expectations, job security, privacy and other issues.

Mr. Paateri also stated that digital monitoring should not generate discipline unless egregious or illegal conduct was involved.

He also called on the employers to give training and skills to workers to remain employed and develop in the job.

 “Monitoring and data collection must be proportionate to legitimate business needs and the parties have to evaluate whether less intrusive means are available, monitoring should be based on the premise that the work environment is based on mutual trust and respect and, workers should be informed about how much data is collected, its storage and most importantly the purpose for which the data may be used based on the Data Protection Act,” he continued.

He also appealed to the employer to adequately inform, consult and train workers and union representatives about algorithms and their application.

The HSWU, he stated aims to promote a fair and inclusive working environment that ensures no worker is left behind due to advancement in technology and management systems.

“A regulatory approach together with collective bargaining action is the keys to achieving an outcome that is ethical and safe. Through these measures, we can help safeguard workers from job displacement and ensure work with dignity while maximizing the benefits gained from new technologies,” he furthered.

Source:  David Afum, Daily Guide.  Kumasi

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