One of the ways that workers are able to demand from employers what is due them is to always act together. Be it teacher associations, nurses or doctors, these workers are able to solve problems and make changes that improve their lives.
In effect, through unions, workers join each other to strive for improvements at their workplaces, where they routinely spend a large portion of working life daily.
The freedom of workers to come together as unions and negotiate with employers is widely recognised as a fundamental human right across the globe. In Ghana, this right is protected by the Labour Law, which is relied upon by majority of workers in labour disputes.
In spite of the law, however, labour disputes continue to persist because it has not been possible to deal adequately with workers’ issues, which eventually lead to strikes.
The strike declared by the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association bears ample testimony to the fact that there is much more work to be done to forestall such strikes and for such disputes to be resolved through negotiations and dialogue.
The Ghanaian Times do not have the full details of GRNMA’sdemands but we are tempted to believe that they are legitimate and the government has not said that the demands are not justifiable.
Therefore, our humble suggestion is that the two parties must return to the negotiation table and engage further on the issues in order to arrive at an amicable settlement.
The action by the nurses and midwives,even though legitimate, is going to hurt ordinary Ghanaians who need their services most. And although the action is being used to back their demands and intended to force the government to accept them, it is our view that it would rather hurt members of the public.
The reason is that the services are patronised mainly by the members of the public and we can say with some degree of certainty that some patients may die as a result of the strike.
Many more would also be denied their services and they may have to find alternative means of getting attention for their health needs.
Our appeal, therefore, is to the GRNMA to call off the industrial action and return to the negotiation table in response to the invitation by the government and on humanitarian grounds to dialogue with their employer.
It is our wish that the problem would be resolved as quickly as possible so that the nurses and the midwives would return to work and do what they know how to do best – to attend to the health needs of the people.