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26.04.2007 General News

Health workers threaten strike action


The leadership of the health workers group are gearing up to embark on a nation-wide strike action effective Monday, 30th April 2007.

The Group said its decision is based on the fact that there are discrepancies in their salary structure and that of the medical doctors.

However, it promised that it will give a human face to the strike by leaving a skeletal staff in the hospitals to take care of patients on admission but would not attend to new patients.

The Group is demanding that the salary scale for doctors and non-doctors be bridged to correspond with the system of equal pay for equal work.

Speaking at a press conference in Tema, the Chairman of the Group, Mr Raymond said they are calling for the fulfillment of the adherence to equal pay for equal work because everybody's job is important in the health sector.

The HWG comprise eight health workers associations, namely the Association of Health Services Administrators, Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association, Health Accounting Staff Association of Ghana, the Job Evaluation Appeal Committee and Health Services Workers' Union of Ghana.

The rest are the Ghana Registered Nurses' Association, Ghana Federation of Allied Health Professions, Ghana Medical Assistants Association and Ghana Association of Nurse Anaesthetists.

Mr Tetteh said the executives of HWG realized the discrepancies in their salary structure, which was different from that of the doctors.

He said they drew the attention of the appropriate authorities who also commissioned the National Labour Commission, the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Additional Duty Hours Allowance (ADHA) Reforms and the Appellate Body to work on it.

He said having involved these bodies there was no doubt in their minds that the big gap between the doctors and the other health officials would be bridged.

It alleged that while the medical doctors have 100 percent of the structure, the gap between them and the Clinical staff is 65 percent, non-clinical staff 55 percent and this is narrowed down to the junior staff.

Mr Tetteh said the bodies have failed to address their concerns and described the turn of events as unfair and cheating.

The Chairman stated that the HWG had being in negotiations with the Negotiation Committee of the Ghana Health Service and Teaching Hospitals over the new structure.

The negotiations were the outcome of a Job Evaluation exercise commissioned by the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health, which was undertaken by the Cedar Care Trust International of United Kingdom.

He said the Job Evaluation Exercise was recommended by a review of ADHA, which recommended among others the abolishment of the ADHA scheme to be replaced with a more equitable pay system.

The dispute between the HWG and the Negotiation Committee was how to translate the job evaluation exercise into a more equitable pay system.

Mr Tetteh said for the past 15 months no concrete decision has been arrived at on the issue so a strike action is the last resort, adding that they have fulfilled all the requirements of strike.

He, however, said the HWG is open to dialogue on the matter.

Source: GNA