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Health News of Monday, 11 February 2013

Source: myjoyonline.com

Doctors embark on nationwide strike

The Ghana Medical Association will from this morning withdraw out-patient services as it embarks on a nationwide strike over salary distortions.

According to the doctors, they will only attend to emergencies and in-patients for this week. The GMA further indicates the strike will intensify with all services withdrawn if no word is heard from government within the week.

President of the GMA, Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei told Joy News government has not been forth coming in abiding by the National Labour Commission’s ruling concerning the conversion difference and market premium.

Dr Frank Serebour, General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association explained in a statement released to the press explained that the decision was taken after all the series of meetings, consultations and correspondents with stakeholders like the National Labour Commission (NLC), Ministry of Health, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) following the award on the November 4, 2011 in the matter of migration of doctors onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).

“We will like to state that we have availed ourselves to all processes as required by law thus far and still no end to the issues.”

Following the migration of doctors onto the SSSS in December 2011, with retrospective effect from January 2010, the payment of market premium with regard to 2010 was duly paid based on 2010 basic salary and same for 2011.

The payment of salaries of doctors in December 2011 came with a conversion difference consistent with the provision of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651 and the white paper governing the implementation of the SSSS.

However, in January 2012, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the FWSC unilaterally decided to suspend and subsequently recover payments of conversion difference to doctors and other health professionals resulting in reduced pension contributions.

This step was clearly in contravention of the ILO Convention, the Labour Act 2003 and the Government white paper on SSSS implementation.

The Market Premium which has always been a percentage of the basic salary was unilaterally made an absolute figure in 2012 and not based on 2012 basic salary. This they say was clearly against the ruling of the NLC on November 4, 2011, the statement said.

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