Mortuary workers embark on strike

PAttendants at the Tema General Hospital Mortuary have embarked upon on strike over poor conditions of service. They are complaining about low salary, no overtime pay and neglect of the mortuary leading to the attendants contracting diseases.

When this reporter got to the facility at about 2pm, the attendants were clad in red bands signifying their seriousness towards the issue.

They were not receiving new cases from other hospitals or from homes.

The hospital’s administration was also in a meeting to know the way forward.

Sources at the hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity said, the attendants had agreed to receive deceased persons from the hospital contrary to an earlier stand not to.

Some family members who already have their bodies at the mortuary were at the hospital to make payments and attend to their late relatives.

The situation appeared to frustrate family members who wanted to bring new bodies.

They expressed the wish that the government would be able to address their needs to enable them return to work to avoid further inconvenience to the public.

In addition to the outcomes from the meeting, bodies which had already been admitted to the mortuary prior to the strike would be taken care of.

Meanwhile Accra-based radio station Citi FM reports that the strike action declared by the Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG) is nationwide.
Bereaved families have been left stranded at various public mortuaries across the country as the workers who are protesting low salaries and poor working conditions have refused to attend to them.
MOWAG is embarking on an indefinite strike as a last resort to compel the Ministry of Health to among other things, review their salaries and working conditions.

A visit to the Pantang Hospital mortuary in Accra revealed that the facility has been deserted.
The premise was under lock and key with red cloth tied to some parts of the building.
The chief attendant at the mortuary, Thomas Fiagbo told Citi News‘ Nii Armah Ammah that they will not take in new bodies or release the ones already in the mortuary until the government meets all their demands.
“We met the Minister yesterday (Monday), but we didn’t get anything concrete.

“So we have decided to be on strike until further notice. We are not receiving any new body. We have told the Minister our problems but he is not listening to us. Unless we hear from the Minister, this place will remain locked,” he added.

Citi News’ Ashanti Regional correspondent reported that the workers have placed red bands on the entrance of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital mortuary with no activities going on.
Some of the stranded families say the strike is having an adverse effect on them since they are unable to retrieve the remains of their dead relatives for burial.
Some of them who have travelled from long distances to take their relatives’ bodies for burial say “we have come all the way from Dunkwa, we just got here and they told us that workers are on strike. We are stranded and do not know what to do. This is really troubling.”

“We plead with government to address the concerns of these striking workers so that we can take the bodies of our deceased relatives and bury them accordingly”, another said.

In the Northern Region, a visit to the Bimbilla Government Hospital revealed that the mortuary had been locked and the attendants are nowhere to be found.
It was gathered that the morgue looks deserted and had no dead bodies as the deep freezers were not functioning.
In the same region, mortuary workers at the Tamale Teaching Hospital are in a meeting with management over the issue.
Volta Region 
When Citi News visited the Ketu South Municipal Hospital’s Mortuary at 10:30 am, the facility was locked.
The place looked deserted without a single attendant.
Sources said that, some of the mortuary workers were earlier seen cleaning the morgue but left in compliance with the nationwide strike by the Ghana Mortuary Workers Association.


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