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General News of Friday, 11 August 2006

Source: Chronicle

Workers to Go On Strike Again?

HEALTH WORKERS' Group (HWG) of Ghana has threatened to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike should government fail to meet the September deadline as agreed upon with its National Council to re-structure the new salary scheme and pay members accordingly.

According to the HWG, government has been slow in forming an independent appellate body to review the current pay structure, which government conceded haboured various distortions and discrepancies.

At a durbar in Kumasi, members of the Ashanti regional branch of the HWG wondered how government was going to meet the deadline for the three-month period agreement reached between their National Council (NC) and the sector Ministry, with its snail-pace movement.

The health workers therefore called on government to impress on the appellate body to hasten the process in order to allay the belief that it was and still is dragging its feet in resolving their "all-important issue" that is affecting the morale of health workers throughout the country.

They also advised other health workers nationwide to wear red bands from mid-September till the end of the month, at which time they would lay down their tools indefinitely if the government had not fulfilled its promises.

Mr. Anthony Mensah, a member of the group who read their ten-point resolution to the media, suggested for government to recognize the unique contributions of deputy directors of nursing and pharmaceutical services, as well as other regional deputy directors who are comparable to directors at the teaching hospitals in the new structure.

He also reiterated the HWG's call on government, hospital boards and stakeholders to, as a matter of urgency, terminate the appointment of Prof. Badu Akosa, Director General of the Ghana Health Service; Dr. Kofi Nsiah Asare, Chief Executive Officer of KATH; Dr. Boohene, Chairman of the Ghana Health Service Council; Dr. Ken Sarggoe of the Ministry of Health; and Ms. Ida Tetteh Mantey, a Consultant.

According to the workers' resolution, the five persons had proved beyond all reasonable doubt that they were not managers of all health workers but a chosen few.

"They, by their action, caused the loss of precious lives, unleashed untold hardships and grief on innocent patients and subsequently embarrassed the government, not to mention the colossal financial loss to the various health institutions," the resolution pointed out.

The HWG members placed on record that government and the good people of Ghana should not blame them for the recurrence of any strike action with its attendant painful and bitter experiences.

In a welcome address, the HWG Regional Chairman, Mr. Kwame Adinkra Amoh, indicated that in the current pay structure of health workers in the public sector, a doctor's five-day pay was equal to the monthly salary of other health professionals, including those with degrees, hence their call for restructuring.