The ongoing strike action by the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) has intensified as it enters its third day today.
The pharmacies at most public health facilities remained locked with inscriptions expressing their regret to withdraw their services due to their employers’ silence to their issues.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, has appealed to the striking pharmacists to go back to the negotiation table, saying strike by health workers was an unnecessary punishment to patients.
He also urged the National Labour Commission (NLC) to quickly address the concerns of the pharmacists and resolve their issues to enable them go back to work.
Dr. Denkyira said patients who are on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) would have to purchase their drugs from private pharmacies.
Mr. Stephen Corquaye, GHOSPA’s former chairman, told The Ghanaian Times in an interview in Accra yesterday that GHOSPA has not been engaged by government since it started its strike.
The pharmacist began an indefinite strike on Monday to press home their demands for balanced market premium, 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. Corquaye, said their actions were due to the ongoing negotiations which have delayed inappropriately.
GHOSPA and its employer, governments 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 a pay policy, which began about seven years ago 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.
“The salaries of GHOSPA members have 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 expected government to quickly resolve the issue and ensure that all policies taken by committees set to address their concerns were implemented.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey