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General News of Monday, 27 May 2013


Doctors: Fair Wages Commission must honour NLC directive or...

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called on the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to honour the directive to restore and pay the doctors their conversion difference.

Honouring the directive, which was given by the National Labour Commission (NLC) on May 7, according to the GMA, will avert any worsening of the already fragile situation at the health front.

The doctors, after a month-long strike in April to press home demands for the payment of their conversion difference resulting from the implementation of the single spine salary structure, restored their services on May 8 in compliance with the NLC directive.

But speaking to the media in Takoradi at end of its third National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, president of the GMA, Dr. K. Opoku-Adusei said though the association had honoured its side of the directive, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission had blatantly refused to abide by the directive.

He said the GMA was appealing to well-meaning members of the public whose voices were heard loudly during the GMA’s strike calling on the doctors to restore service, to put the necessary pressure on the FWSC to change their current stand, which was contrary to what was agreed.

Dr Opoku-Adusei explained that the NLC had noted that doctors in the public sector continued to suffer reduced pensions due to the unwillingness of the FWSC and government to honour the payment of the conversion difference owed doctors since January 2010.

He said the NLC’s May 7 directive further asked the parties to negotiate and agree on an acceptable payment schedule for the conversion difference if a payment schedule proposed by the GMA was not acceptable to the FWSC.

Dr Opoku-Adusei said as per the directive, the striking doctors had resumed work, “but FWSC is yet to keep to its side of the directive.”

He said the GMA was shocked at a publication in the Daily Graphic of Wednesday, May 22 which he said did not reflect the position of the Public Sector Joint Standing Negotiation Committee on the issues of reduced pension and conversion difference payment for doctors.

“Indeed, this altered report as put up was actually a recommendation from a sub-committee put together by the FWSC to look into the issues of reduced pensions of doctors in the public sector,” he said.

“I want to put it on record that the sub-committee does not have the mandate to look at the conversion difference and hence could not make any pronouncement on the conversion difference.”

He said the recommendation of the sub-committee had already been rejected by organised labour and that the position of organised labour was that the conversion difference should be restored.