British Airways, Ghana office, has been accused of embarking on a redundancy exercise in disguise of a compulsory retirement policy at age 55 which according to Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and Labour Policy International (LPi) is in breach of the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766).
The Airline confirmed to LPi that it was its policy to retire or retrench its Ghanaian staff at the age of fifty-five (55). The LPi after obtaining clarification from SSNIT, confirming the said policy to be unlawful, has made several attempts via email to meet the management of British Airways to be advised on measures it intends to implement to rectify the said breaches and restore the rights of affected employees.
According to SSNIT, in a letter dated March 28 2018 addressed to the Country Manager of British Airways Ghana, they state that in 1972 when SSNIT was established, the age of superannuation for a person to be paid supperannuation benefit was when the person retires or is retired at the age of 55 years in the case of men and 45 years in the case of women. However, in 1991 ” the pensionable age was fixed at 60 years by section 34(1)(a) for both male and female and this became applicable to all workers under the 1965 Social Security Act, who continued under 1972, Decree, NRCD 127 and further continued in 1991 under PNDC Law 247 which repealed NRCD 127. In 2008 the National Pensions Act (Act 766) was passed and this also fixed the compulsory retirement age at 60 years for members of the scheme.”
SSNIT therefore holds the view that any organization which seeks to retire its staff compulsorily before attainment of the age of 60 years will be in breach of the law. They state that “British Airways Ghana will not be in compliance with the law governing pensions in the country, if it operates a system which compulsorily retires its staff covered by the mandatorily Social Security laws of Ghana, at age 55 years.” However, investigations by LPi reveals that British Airways has made no formal request to SSNIT for retirement of affected workers thus bringing up the important dimension of redundancy under the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) which requires notice to the Chief Labour Officer.
LPi has therefore called for the intervention of the Chief Labour Officer so that Management of British Airways could explain matters arising from the said policy, and in particular how it intends to make amends, as a matter of obligation.