Unemployed graduates from the School of Hygiene, yesterday picketed at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to demand immediate employment.
The group represented four batches of 1,500 people, who have graduated from the three schools of hygiene since 2011, but have not been posted to start work at any of their respective departments.
They began picketing at the premises of the ministry on Monday night, and slept at the corridors and garages of the building, after vowing not to leave the premises until their concerns were addressed.
Spokesperson for the group, Prince Dzramado, explained that their decision to picket at the ministry stemmed from “the mishandling of their employment issues by the ministry”.
He said four batches of graduates who completed health training programmes at the Ho, Tamale and Accra Schools of Hygiene four years ago, were faced with frustration and hardships as they continue to stay home unemployed.
“As a matter of fact, this is not the first time but the third time we are gathered on the same roundtable discussing the same issue. We, the concerned environmental health professionals, believe that the way our matter is being handled is not the best,” he said.
He observed that government had given little attention to their persistent demand because it placed less importance on their role in the health service delivery chain.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, who addressed them yesterday, said government valued their role and had not relented in its efforts to employ them.
He said his outfit was liaising with the MLGRD to seek financial clearance to facilitate their employment by the end of December.
“I am well informed that budgetary provision has been made in the 2016 budget. So once the budget processes are approved, the ministry will ensure it start the posting,” he said.
According to him, a review of the recruitment of environmental health personnel would be done by government as part of the compensation budget to avoid the recurrence of graduates completing their course without jobs.
Mr. Iddrisu said his outfit would make it a strong policy recommendation to the President for environmental health officers to be absorbed under the common fund for their salaries to be dealt with accordingly.
He, therefore, advised the group to depart and be rest assured that their request was being addressed.
The group, after hearing the assurance from the minister left the premises of the ministry.
By Charles Amankwa & Emelia Enyonam Kuleke