General News of Thursday, 8 September 2016
The Government and Hospitals Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) has said it will continue its strike pushing for changes to their market premiums until there is a clear commitment by government to resolve its grievances.
The association’s decision comes after government explained it could not agree to an upward adjustment of premiums because it has not budgeted for it.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu, appealed to GHOSPA to return to work and engage government further on matters relating to [their] market premiums.
The General Secretary of GHOSPA, Emmanuel Owusu Owiafe, told Citi News, “as it stands now, if there is no clear unambiguous commitments to resolving this issue, we will be unable to go back to work.”
GHOSPA started its indefinite strike on Monday to push for changes to their market premiums and said it was forced to resort to this action after the breakdown of negotiations with government, spanning six years, over its grade structure and placement in public health facilities.
The pharmacists have lamented discrepancies in its interim market premiums claiming that the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission placed pharmacists working in university hospitals on a premium of 1.14, whilst the pharmacists working in the Ghana Health Service are on a premium of 0.58.
Mr. Owiafe lamented that “This single spine salary structure has made less of us [public sector pharmacist] and that we are not earning what our scores entitle us to.” “The level of faith we have now is a little bit reduced because not even intervention from the chief of staff and the committee he set up was implemented and the National Labour Commission (NLC) was not able to enforce its own ruling by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.”
NLC suit against GHOSPA
Two days into the GHOSPA strike, NLC filed a suit at the Labour Division of the High Court, seeking to compel striking pharmacists to call off their strike. Thought the NLC did not described this strike as illegal, it has said GHOSPA’s actions were not in the interest of potential patrons hence its decision to resort to the law courts.
As at yesterday [Wednesday] GHOSPA however said it was unaware of any suit from the National Labour Commission (NLC).