The Ghana Medical Association (GMA), and other health workers unions yesterday refused to sign a document on their Conditions of Service.
This happened at a meeting scheduled by the Ministry of Health in Accra, to facilitate the signing.
The unions claimed they had not seen the document to know its contents and begin negotiations for the agreement.
At about 2 p.m. yesterday, representatives of health workers unions comprising the GMA, the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), Government and Hospital Parmarcists Association (GHOSPA) and the Health Services Workers Union, were at the ministry following a phone call from the Accountant-General and the Registrar-General’s Department for them to meet Mr. Alexander Segbefia, the Minister of Health.
They claimed that although they did not know the details of the meeting, it was rumoured that it was for the signing of their conditions of service and they had come to have a look at the document.
The Deputy General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson told journalists that “the unions did not come to sign any document, but for negotiations on the service conditions”.
“We are not here for any signing, what we have come to do is to have a look at the conditions of service and start negotiations on the draft documents,” he stated.
During that time, the Minister who was supposed to lead the meeting, was said to be addressing staff of the ministry at a durbar at the Civil Servants Hall.
Tony Goodman, the Public Relations Officer for the Ministry, apologised to the media for keeping them waiting from 2 p.m., to about 5:30 p.m. for a meeting which proved futile.
He told journalists the unions asked for extra time to look into the document, and hopefully it would be finalised and signed by tomorrow.
The Technical Committee working on the document on the conditions of service for the public sector health workers presented the draft to the Minister of Health, Mr. Alexander Segbefia, and his Employment and Labour Relations counterpart, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, on June 2.
The committee, led by the president of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Kwabena Adusei, presented the draft to the two ministers in Accra, to pave way for negotiations.
Dr. Adusei said the GMA hoped that the presentation of the documents, which marked the first phase of work on the document, would enable government to negotiate its contents before the end of this month, to bring sanity to the services of the GMA and the health sector as a whole.
Mr. Segbefia, who received the documents, hoped that the processes would be completed in due time to ensure that the Ghana Health Service (GHS) had a conditions of service for health workers.
Mr. Iddrisu, who served as a witness to the presentation said the document, when fully developed, would affect medical doctors, nurses and all health workers by dealing with specific working conditions concerning salaries, allowances and transfers, among others.
He said the ministries would fast-track the negotiations on the conditions of service, assuring that “not later than June 12, the FWSC and the Compensation Department of the Ministry of Health would begin earnest negotiations on the contents of the document and focus on its financial implications to allow for the Finance Minister to include it in the 2016 budget”.
The Ghana Health Service since its inceptions about 10 years ago, has not formulated a working document on the conditions of service for health workers.
A committee made up of representatives of the various health workers unions was formed earlier on, to make submissions into a draft conditions of service based on their ranks.
Members of the GMA on June 1, affirmed their decision to resign if government failed to solve issues concerning their conditions of service by the end of this month.
By Linda Aryeetey