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02.09.2005 General News

Doctors' strike: Labour Commission to act

GNA

Accra, Sept. 2, GNA - The National Labour Commission (NLC) on Friday said it was taking steps to resolve the impasse between Members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and the Government that had resulted in a nation-wide strike action by Doctors.

Mr Joseph Aryitey, Chairman of the Commission, said under section 161 of the Labour Act, Doctors formed part of the group of essential services and were not supposed to go on strike.

Mr Aryitey, was answering questions on what the Commission was doing to resolve the impasse after speaking on the work of the Commission, since its inauguration by President John Kufuor last April. Mr Aryitey said the strike action had come to the notice of the Commission, and it would draw the attention of the Association to the section of the Law that made it illegal for the Doctors to go on strike during the period of negotiation.

Sub section one Section 162 of the Labour Act states: "Any party to an industrial dispute shall not resort to a strike action or lock-out during the period when negotiation, mediation or arbitration proceedings are in progress.''

Sub section two states: "Any party who contravenes subsection (1) is liable for any damage, loss or injury suffered by any other party to the dispute."

The GMA had announced, following an extraordinary meeting of the National Executive Committee, on Thursday, September 1, 2005, that it was withdrawing its services nationwide to press home their demand for the payment of the Additional Duty Hour Allowance (ADHA) arrears on their new salary levels.

Mr Aryitey said under the circumstance, the Commission would bring the two parties, made up of organised labour (the Doctors), and the Government into compulsory negotiations, and if that failed, the Commission would bring an application from the High Court, and use coercive power to compel the Doctors to respect the law. He explained that the Commission could not be faulted on fact, but on the provisions of the Law.

Mr Ayitey pointed out that if all saw the Law as a tool for social engineering and submitted to it, a healthy atmosphere would develop, adding that this called for all sides in labour disputes not to fight for their individual interests, but those of others and the State of Ghana.

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