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General News of Saturday, 1 June 2019


‘Be reasonable, your demands are above us’ – Health Ministry to Mortuary workers

The Ministry of Health has said the demands of the striking mortuary workers are too outrageous for them to meet.

According to the ministry, although it has engaged the workers to find a lasting solution to the stalemate, the workers are among other things requesting for an ‘abnormal’ 3000 percent increase in their monthly salaries.

The mortuary workers’ strike has entered its third day, creating discomfort for families seeking bodies for burial. They say they will not call off their strike until their demands are met.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Elorm Ametepe said the concerns of the association are way above his outfit, hence the need for them to be more reasonable.

“Now the issue is beyond the initial demands that they made. They have now brought a proposal which is very ambitious. The first is a 3000 percent review of their salaries which should be in line with the single spine salary structure. They want the increment to take effect from 2009 since the scheme was implemented. The workers are also demanding a 90 percent special risk allowance on their basic salary every month. They even want to retire on their 3000 percent salary they are requesting. These workers want to be paid a lump sum after working for ten years in the form of end of service award. I think these are way above what the ministry can offer.”

“So we brought them to the negotiating table so that we discuss the way forward. They went to the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission but decided not to go through the evaluation process. We are ready to engage them and not put them in an awkward position. But they should also make sure that they meet the requirements of the government of the day. No one can be able to pay them 3000 percent increase on their salaries,” he added.

At the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital mortuary, people who came to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones were turned away.

The mortuary attendants under the umbrella name, Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana, MOWAG, have been battling with the government to increase their salaries and improve their conditions of service for several months now.

The National Chairman of the association, Edward Mensah, said the strike will continue until their demands are met.

Unless the government hears us, calls us and we understand and our people agree [before] we will call the strike off. Maybe they (bereaved families) should postpone their funeral or those kinds of things. We are not fighting with family but rather they should talk to the government to hear us out and then we all leave together,” he told Citi News.

This is the second time Mortuary workers are embarking on a strike after a similar one on March 4, 2019.

That strike was however called off after three days following government’s assurances.

However, negotiations between the Association and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission appear to have broken down, forcing the workers to lay down their tools again.