07.09.2005 General News

Doctors Strike: GMA fails to reach consensus

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Accra, Sept. 7, GNA - The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on Tuesday failed to reach a consensus on proposals made available by government on the payment of Additional Duty Hour Allowance (ADHA) to its members.

Deliberations at the meeting, which dragged into Tuesday night, were expected to continue on Wednesday to streamline issues towards a consensus to enable the striking doctors resume work. The leadership of the Association remains tight-lipped as the nationwide strike action by its members enters its sixth day today leaving most out patients departments of public health institutions deserted.

In-patient care however continues. The doctors last Friday began an indefinite nationwide strike to press home their demand for the payment of their ADHA arrears on their new salary levels.

The Ministry of Health, said it spends 60 billion cedis a month on ADHA, and that payments had delayed because the ministry's financial position could not meet the demand now. It has therefore called on the striking doctors to bear with it and collaborate to find ways of solving the problem.

The GMA on the other hand, has justified the strike action, saying it was a legitimate demand on the Government though its members were not happy with the action, knowing the repercussions and asked the public to bear with them.

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 association and the Government.

Mr Joseph Aryitey, Chairman of the Commission, said under section 161 of the Labour Act, doctors formed part of the group of essential services, which are not permitted to go on strike. He said the strike should be called off while negotiations continued.

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