13.06.2006 General News

GMA suspends strike

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Accra, June 12, GNA - The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on Monday announced the suspension of the strike action that doctors embarked upon 18 days ago and asked all doctors to resume work immediately. Dr Francis Adu-Ababio, President of the GMA, who made the announcement at a press conference, said they hoped the Government would resolve all issues concerning the new salary structure of health officials by the end of June 2006.

He also warned that "any group or individual, who continues to be on strike, does so at his or her own risk".

Dr Adu-Ababio stated that the Association was also suspending its roadmap announced on May 26 2006 until the end of June 2006.

"Following this consultative process, the Ghana Medical Association is suspending its roadmap announced on May 26, 2006 till the end of June 2006."

A Doctors' strike in Accra and Kumasi caused havoc in hospitals. The situation became worse when other health workers withdrew their services last week to protest against a new salary structure for the health service, which they described as heavily skewed in favour of doctors.

He said between now and the end of June 2006, it was the expectation of the GMA that a number of issues would be resolved to ensure continued industrial harmony.

He said the GMA expected the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding governing the payment and administration of the new salary structure for health workers to replace the old MOU signed in 1999. It also expected that the Government would make good its promise contained in a letter from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to pay the new negotiated salary level and a third of the arrears under the new salary by June ending.

"It is the expectation of the GMA that the remaining two-thirds of the arrears will be paid in July and August 2006."

He said the decision to suspend the strike had been taken in consultation with all interested parties including the Greater Accra Division of the GMA, which in a resolution sent to the National Executive Council (NEC) dated 12 June 2006, resolved to suspend its action and go by the roadmap of the Association.

The GMA President told members that all outstanding issues identified through the consultative process were currently being pursued by the Leadership and advised that other unresolved issues at any local level would have to be resolved using administrative procedures.

"Having taken this decision bearing in mind the effect of the strike action n the Ghanaian population and in sympathy with the public, Council urges the general public to exert the necessary pressure on the Government to give doctors in particular and health workers in general their due under the law before the period of suspension expires."

Dr Adu-Ababio noted that during the strike, certain 93unguarded, unfortunate and misleading=94 statements were made with respect to the professional status and qualifications of the House Officer.

"For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, House Officers are qualified doctors, who have been so adjudged through stringent examinations following, which they have been provisionally certified by the Medical and Dental Council (Ghana) to practice medicine and dentistry in this country."

He apologized on behalf of the GMA to the Ghanaian population for any inconvenience and the pain that the strike action might have caused and called on the general public to exert the necessary pressure on the Government to give health workers their due under the law before the expiry of the suspension.

The GMA Council also apologized to the Office of the President of Ghana and President John Agyekum Kufuor for the unfortunate turn of events.

"Your Excellency, the interaction you had with the GMA Leadership on Wednesday May 31 2006, before your recent travel abroad, has been misconstrued. We are deeply sorry for this."

Meanwhile the GMA has expressed confidence in the Ghana Black Stars and wished the team good luck in their World Cup debut against Italy.

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