NEGOTIATIONS on the Conditions of Service of doctors can only continue if they call off the strike and return to the hospitals, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, has said.
He said the government would not negotiator with the doctors while they were still on strike.
“Government will continue negotiations with the GMA only if they call off their strike and come back to the negotiation table for us to dialogue further, to put closure to the whole subject of getting them a codified Conditions of Service.”
“So long as they remain on strike, boycotting work whether partial or full and not resigning, puts us in a difficulty in continuing negotiations,” he said.
However, the GMA appears unperturbed by the government’s decision to pull out of the negotiation table, and has sworn to continue with the strike until a negotiated Conditions of Service is produced for doctors.
The General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson, told The Ghanaian Times on phone, that the association was waiting for a formal communication from the minister on the government’s decision to pull out of the negotiations.
“No formal communication has reached us. If we receive any communication, we will advise ourselves accordingly, but until then, the strike continues,” he said.
On the draft Conditions of Service released by the government, Dr. Yankson said “what we are looking for is not just any document called Conditions of Service. We are looking for a negotiated and signed Conditions of Service”.
He said the document produced by the government was mere propaganda, because the two sides had gone beyond that stage of negotiations.
The doctors, last Friday, voted by a majority decision, to extend their strike for two weeks, to press home their demand for a well-negotiated Conditions of Service.
They have resolved to continue to withdraw Out-Patient and Emergency Services in all public hospitals throughout the country.
The doctors have, for over a month now, been negotiating with the government for a Conditions of Service, but the two parties have not been able to reach a common ground.
By Yaw Kyei