Pharmacists working in government hospitals across the country yesterday began an indefinite strike to demand from government a balanced market premium which will ensure equal salary payment to all members of Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA).
The pharmacist, who are presently attending to in-patients and those who were admitted yesterday, are also demanding a codified condition of service from the Ministry of Health, and a review of their grade structure and placement on the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).
Mr. Stephen Corquaye, GHOSPA’s former chairman, told the press in Accra yesterday that its action was due to the ongoing negotiations, which had delayed inappropriately.
GHOSPA and its employer, government are in a stalemate after almost seven years of negotiations on a pay policy for about 800 pharmacists serving in public hospitals.
It is recalled that GHOSPA in August 2015 embarked on strike over a pay policy, which began about seven years ago with government, through the National Labour Commission, after which government formed a Cabinet sub-committee to have a look at the policy.
Last two years, the then Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, directed the Finance Ministry to develop a strategy to resolve the problem.
Mr. Corquaye said the basis for their strike was taken by members of the association at an annual general meeting held recently after deliberating on the issues of their market premium which had travelled for about seven years.
He stated that several negotiations and assurances on the restructuring of the interim market premium had not yet been fulfilled, and that had caused a lot of havoc to the members of GHOSPA.
“The salaries of GHOSPA members had been reduced since we were migrated unto the SSSS and we have negative salary that has still not been corrected. We also have a reduced pension package which is also affecting us,” he said.
Mr. Corquaye said the association expects government to quickly resolve the issue and ensure that all policies taken by committees set to address their concerns were implemented.
As at 11:50 am when The Ghanaian Times visited the Kaneshie Polyclinic it observed that all the pharmacists had left for home with the exception of their members, who were locking the pharmacy while patients were waiting to be served.
She (name withheld) told The Ghanaian Times that they wished they could work but they also have to obey the directive from their boss.
She hoped that the government would address their concerns by close of today to enable them return to work.
The situation was not different at the Korle Bu Polyclinic and the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH).
Pharmacists at the Korle Bu Polyclinic were seen taking stock of their medicines rather than attending to patients, who approached the pharmacy with their National Health Insurance Cards (NHIS).
Not even a single soul was seen at the KBTH pharmacy as it was locked with huge padlocks.
All the three public health facilities had notice which read, “Due to the ongoing strike by the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA), we are unable to provide services until further notice”.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey