The Africa Public and Civil Service Union Network (APACSUN) recently held its 2nd Strategic Meeting in Cape Coast, Ghana. During this meeting, the Network expressed indignation that a large proportion of workers on the continent are not covered under social security systems.
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* This article was originally published by the Ghana News Agency.
Social protection is a basic right to all workers anywhere in the world. However, a large proportion of workers in Africa, especially in the informal sector, are not covered under the right social security systems.
APACSUN has, therefore, resolved to support member unions to study and adopt best practices that enable the improvement of pension administration and benefits for members. The Network expressed this in a communiqué issued at the end of its 2nd Strategic Meeting in Ghana from 15-17 January. The communiqué was signed by Mr. Isaac Bampoe Addo, Executive Secretary of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association Ghana (CLOGSAG), and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
The Network resolved to embark on campaigns to ensure greater representation of workers on boards that administered and managed pensions and support review of pension legislations for prudent management of funds. It seeks to build coalitions with other social forces to condemn and resist the privatisation agenda at the national and regional levels that have so far failed to deliver.
Through the communiqué, APACSUN also resolved to provide graphic evidence of the failure of the privatisation experiment and the Private Public Partnership (PPP) variant and showcase alternative policies that are delivering public services and increasing citizens’ access to quality.
“Taking cognizance of the comparatively reasonable numbers in the public and civil services, low participation, and poor and limited benefits (resulting from bad investments and poor management of funds by pension administrators) have left most workers in a very sorry state at retirement,” it stated.
Whilst the Network acknowledged some attempts at ensuring reforms for successful pension, it noted that those measures did not make adequate provisions for cross-cutting issues such as housing, elderly care, maternity protection and health care for workers during active service and upon retirement. APACSUN also noted that the United Nations Agenda 2030 on “Sustainable Development,” and the Africa Union Agenda 2063 on “the Africa We Want,” all underscored the absolute centrality of access to public services to all peoples.
According to the communiqué, notwithstanding the glaring failure of the privatisation experiment over the last three decades, governments in Africa continued to succumb to the various variants of privatisation, especially PPP arrangements.
Public and Civil servants constitute a substantial proportion of the formal workforce in most countries in Africa, with most spending their entire working life in the service.
APACSUN is made up of a host of PSI-affiliated unions from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania, with members including CLOGSAG, the Public Services Workers’ Union (PSWU) of TUC, the Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS), the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW), the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) and the Tanzania Union of Government and Health Employees (TUGHE).
The rest are the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), and the Senior Staff Association of Judicial Service of Ghana (SSAJUG).