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02.04.2007 General News

GMA threatens to sue government over new salary structure


The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on Monday asked government to come to the negotiation table and discuss all contentious issues on salaries and conditions of service as agreed by the National Labour Commission (NLC).

"There is need for a comprehensive Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) ... Failing that we will re-examine our obviously limited options, including seeking redress at the law courts if the National Executive of the GMA so-decides", Dr. Francis Adu-Ababio, President of GMA said at a press conference in Accra.

The press conference among other things was to correct the erroneous impression being created that doctors were now the best salaried workers and the distortions of the new salary structure, which replaced the old and the Additional Duty Hour Allowance (ADHA).

The GMA President said after a year of salary reforms, which were said to be the best, the GMA found the gains being eroded by unilateral government decisions on issues that were never discussed.

The NLC had earlier ordered government to sign a comprehensive CBA with the GMA covering conditions of service including fuel allowance, wage opener clause among others and also cautioned government to desist from unilateral actions in dealing with the trade unions of which the GMA was now affiliated.

He said government's disrespect for the decisions reached at the negotiations, the disregard of the tenets of the labour law, its ridicule of the two rulings of the NLC even as the GMA sought to use legal means to resolve disputes was unacceptable.

The GMA president has therefore asked government to as matter of urgency reverse all unilateral decisions, which had not been discussed, adding "we cannot lose sight of the fair wages commission and the current public sector reforms as GMA is poised to make representative before all the bodies to pursue the interest of our members".

"Should all these fail, we would have no other alternative than to present the facts of our efforts to our discerning members who would then advice on further action accordingly", he added.

Some of the issues raised were scaling down negotiated salaries, irrational branding of various classes of doctors and pegging of non-clinical administrative positions to clinical position of senior specialists consultants.

Other issues bothered on the freezing of promotions of all categories of staff in the affected area agencies, the percentage -rated rent deductions of the higher the salaries the more you pay irrespective of the apartment, abrogation of fuel allowance and arbitrary car loan deductions all in view of the new salary.

This distorts the rational basics for a new salary structure apart from the fact that it was not negotiated for by the GMA, he said.

"Today, it is for the discerning people of Ghana to appreciate the extent to which the GMA has bent over backwards to fulfil the labour law and the extent to which that action and inactions of our employers to disturb industrial harmony. Untimely, it is our wish that we create the environment in which optimal health may be provided to the Ghanaian'', he added.

Source: GNA