21.06.2006 Health

3,250 Health Workers In Limbo

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Total of 3,250 workers whose names appeared on the health sector staff list presented to the Controller and Accountant General's Department (CAGD) have been rejected.

That was because they had not been cleared of one anomaly or another at the time salaries for June, 2006 and the proposed two months arrears were being sent to the Bank of Ghana (BoG) yesterday, June 20, for payment.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday, a Deputy Controller and Accountant General, Mr Kwabena Agyei-Mensah, said out of the total of 42,000 names which were presented by the various health facilities, 38,750 were found to have the correct data.

“It is unfortunate that not all the anomalies were corrected, so it is possible that some genuine workers may not get their salaries for this month,” he stated.

Mr Agyei-Mensah, who is responsible for Financial Management Services, said in order to avoid a situation where a genuine worker could be affected because of an error, the human resource directors at both the district and regional directorates had been asked to set up what he termed “help desks” to receive complaints from affected workers.

He said the figure represented all staff members under the Ghana Health Service (GHS), those of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and trainees in the various health training institutions in the country.

He hinted that in addition to the health service workers, other public servants who had not received arrears of the 20-per cent increment approved from the beginning of this year under the Ghana Universal Salary Structure (GUSS) would also receive two months' arrears this month.

Mr Agyei-Mensah said workers on the payroll could not have their salaries transferred to the BoG on June 19, 2006 as promised by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Kwamena Bartels, but a day later because the corrections were not done in time.

“We were forced to go on with the payments because we were wasting too much time”, he said.

In reaction to complaints that some health workers visited the banks yesterday but could not get their salaries, Mr Agyei-Mensah said every worker knew that when salaries were sent to the banks, payments were not made the same day, stressing,“It takes days, depending on the bank in which one saves”.

He explained that all the necessary documents had been sent to the BoG and it was left with the bank to call the individual commercial banks to go for the salaries and in turn transfer the money to the accounts of the worker.

He said all pay slips had been given to the human resource directors of the various health facilities to be distributed to the workers.

Mr Agyei-Mensah took the opportunity to inform the public, especially those who sold items on hire purchase to the workers, as well as banks who lent out monies and welfare funds, that they could not be paid this month because with the exception of the statutory deductions such as Social Security contributions and union dues, no third party deduction could be made.

He explained that information on those transactions did not get to them in time. He, however, promised that two months payment would be paid to them at the end of July, 2006.

Last week, the CAGD gave officials of the health services up to the end of the week to correct all anomalies found on the staff list presented to be paid based on the new salary structure.

The health workers had been in and out of industrial actions for the past couple of months over salary delays and discrepancies in the new structure, which replaced the additional duty hour allowance (ADHA).

Meanwhile the Council of the Health Workers Group (HWG) have unanimously voted to call off their strike at a meeting in Accra yesterday.

A spokesman of the group, Mr Raymond Tetteh, said the group decided to end the strike after the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the government, which dealt with how their grievances could be addressed.

He said the executive had to consult their membership before the decision could be arrived at. Mr Tetteh said the group had also decided to send a letter of appreciation to the President, Mr J.A. Kufuor, for the role he played in resolving the impasse.

He expressed the hope that all paramedical staff would report for duty from today, Wednesday, June 21, 2006.

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