The Ghana Medical Association (GMA), is adamant to call off its strike, even though reports indicate some talks are on-going.
At the time of going to press yesterday, the executive of the GMA were in a meeting with the National Labour Commission in a last minute attempt by the commission to resolve the impasse before today, when the government ultimatum expires.
The GMA had stated earlier that the doctors would only resume duty when they had a signed Conditions of Service.
“Doctors are not moved by the 48-hour ultimatum given by the Health Minister for them to return to work. Until the striking doctors have in their hands a signed document showing their Conditions of Service, they will remain on strike,” the Deputy General Secretary of GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson, emphasised.
“Our position is simple, no Conditions of Service, no work. Deadline or no deadline, we will only go back to the workplace when our Conditions of Service are duly negotiated and signed.”
The Health Minister, Alex Segbefia, at a news conference on Tuesday to outline government’s emergency plans to deal with the effects of the strike by doctors, ordered the doctors to return to work today, else they would be considered to have breached the Labour Law.
He said it would be impossible for government to negotiate with the doctors if they were on an illegal strike.
But, the GMA said its strike action was not in contravention of the Labour Act, as alleged by the Minister of Labour and Employment Relations, Haruna Iddrisu.
Instead, it said it was the government that had perpetuated the illegality by employing doctors without providing them with Conditions of Service.
“It is the firm belief of the GMA that if there is any illegality, it is first the government that has perpetuated the illegality on the doctors by employing doctors without providing them with Conditions of Service, which is a flagrant violation of the Labour Act,” a statement signed by the President and General Secretary of GMA, Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, and Dr. Frank Serebour respectively, stated.
The statement debunked rumours that a breakaway group had been formed from the GMA, saying, “it is a vile propaganda with no basis. This is a deliberate attempt by our detractors to create division on our front”.
It urged members of the association to be resolute and support the leadership of GMA in its quest to secure a negotiated and signed Conditions of Service.
It alleged that there had been threats to members of the association since the industrial action started, alleging that some government communicators had openly asked armed robbers to attack doctors.
“The GMA takes these threats seriously and are putting in all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of its members. The fight for Conditions of Service is for doctors in this generation and the next,” it said.
While welcoming the government’s decision to bring in doctors from Cuba, the statement said “the irony of the matter is that they are indeed, better paid than their Ghanaian counterparts and are engaged under proper Conditions of Service which include fully furnished accommodation, free utilities, fuel, free healthcare and an air ticket to travel once a year back home to visit their families,” it said.
By Times Reporter