06.09.2005 General News

Doctors Strike: GMA leadership meets

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Accra, Sept. 6, GNA - The leadership the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) is meeting on Tuesday to find a lasting solution to the problem of Additional Duty Hour Allowance (ADHA), Professor Yaw Adu Gyamfi, its President said in Accra.

The doctors on Friday began an indefinite nationwide strike to press home their demand for the payment of their ADHA arrears on their new salary levels.

Speaking in an interview on telephone with the Ghana News Agency, Prof. Adu Gyamfi said the outcome of the meeting would determine whether the strike, which entered its fifth day on Tuesday, would be called off or not.

The Government was said to have made some proposals that the GMA leaders were discussing.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Health, which spends 60 billion cedis a month on ADHA, says it is unintentional that the payments were not made. Rather the ministry's financial position cannot meet the demand now. It has therefore called on striking doctors to bear with the Ministry and collaborate to find a way of solving the problem. The GMA justified their strike action, saying it was a legitimate demand on the Government to respond to their plight.

The GMA said doctors were not happy with their action knowing the repercussions but asked the public to bear with them while the problem of ADHA was resolved.

The National Labour Commission (NLC) has declared the strike illegal and asked the doctors to call it off. The NLC said it was taking steps to resolve the stalemate between the GMA and the Government that had resulted in a nationwide strike. 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 to go on strike.

The NLC said the strike should be called off while negotiations continued.

"A party to an industrial dispute shall not resort to a strike or lockout during the period when negotiating, mediation or arbitration proceedings are in progress," the Labour Act states.

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