General News of Friday, 23 November 2012

Source: Daily Searchlight Newspaper

Massive strike to hit NHIA; CEO adopts divide and rule tactics

Workers at the regional and head office of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) nationwide have threatened to embark on a strike following what they term as the massive exploitation of the workers of NHIA by management and the directors who are enjoying themselves.

Citing reasons for the intended industrial action in a letter intercepted by this paper, both the regional and head office workers accused the NHIA of reneging on an agreed road map brokered by the authorities to resolve issues between them and management.

According to the letter sighted during investigations by The Daily Searchlight Newspaper, the workers in the regional and head office across the nation reported with regret that management did not live up to its commitments but has rather escalated the situation by lying to the workers.

They said that some of the issues agreed on but on which management has broken its word includes the implementation of a new salary structure.

In response to the promise made to them by the authorities, salary has been restructured for about two years now but it is yet to be realized even though management was to increase the salaries of workers at the regional and head office.

In the meantime, this paper has learnt that management has increased the salaries of the pro-NDC scheme mangers by a 100 per cent without doing anything for the workers at the head office and the regional offices of the NHIA.

The workers have also raised critical concerns about the reduction in members’ benefits as the payment of their allowances has been terminated upon the direct orders of the CEO.

Daily Searchlight newspaper also learnt that day in day out the management employs new people to work with the National Health Insurance Authority but has refused to deliver on the promises to the workers.

Other serious matters facing the NHIA, according to a document in our possession, indicates that for the past four years various directors of the NHIA who came in with the NDC have been traveling outside the country on junketing sprees and taking per diem.

Further information has indicated that majority of NHIA workers were being paid less than the minimum wage until the union stepped in about the middle of 2011, to the extent that some of the workers were receiving forty Ghana cedis (Ghc40.00).

Information gathered as at press time indicates that the NHIA CEO was resorting to divide and rule tactics to scatter the strength of the regional and head office workers as he was asking the various regional workers to dissociate themselves from the intended strike through the issuance of public statements denigrating the strike.