Doctors Strike Again

Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei

Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei

This means new patients would be turned away from health facilities this morning across the country as GMA revisits its suspended strike.

President of GMA, Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, who announced this yesterday, said they would only rescind their decision when there was clear evidence that Government, through the relevant agencies, had corrected all anomalies and payments duly made.

Speaking at a press conference after the 2 nd  National Executive Council meeting of the GMA for the year 2013, Dr. Opoku-Adusei warned that they would resort to total strike if government delayed in its decision to consider their demands by April 15, 2013.

‘From Monday, April 15, 2013, all emergency services shall be suspended whilst in-patient care continues until the patients are discharged,’ he stressed.

According to him, government’s refusal to pay them the current market premium on 2013 basic salaries contrary to the ruling of the National Labour Commission (NLC) as well as premium arrears accrued since January 2012 to date had informed the action.

He said non-correction of reduced pension contributions of GMA members, and non-payment of doctors’ conversion difference were also part of the move which resulted in the reactivation of the road map that suspended the strike action in February, this year.

‘The National Executive Council will like to put on record that the GMA will not accept any piece meal and verbal solutions to these problems,’ Dr. Opoku-Adusei declared.

The GMA President indicated that their strike action was lawful despite being an essential service provider because the NLC failed to resolve the issue within the 14-day period, as required by law.

According to him, the case of the GMA was a very simple one that should have been dealt with last year, but had rolled over into 2013 because the NLC failed to enforce its ruling made on November 4, against the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.

The GMA in a communiqué issued at the end of its 54 th  annual general conference in Cape Coast last year pointed out that the NLC appeared to lack the capacity to resolve the issues relating to the Market Premium, Conversion Difference (Reduced Pensions Contributions) and other related post migration issues on the Single Spine Pay Policy.

The GMA began a partial strike across the country early this year during which it urged the government to be forthcoming in abiding by the National Labour Commission’s ruling concerning the Conversion Difference and Market Premium.

The doctors, however, suspended the strike action following a meeting at the Flagstaff House with government officials.

The latest strike, beginning from today, is expected to affect the function of the Out-Patient Department of various health facilities in the country.

However, the strike would not affect emergency cases and in-patients and theatre services this week as the doctors had given assurance to ensure uninterrupted service in essential departments.

In May 2012, GMA, in a communiqué issued at the end of its national executive council meeting, drew government’s attention to the frustrating manner in which the salary distortions in the payment of Market Premium, Conversion Difference and other salary arrears were distressing its members.

The other demands already placed for the consideration of the government included the disturbing trend of the haphazard implementation of the Single Spine, which resulted in reduced Social Security contributions of some doctors.

The GMA said this was happening at a time the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) had started making deductions from its members ostensibly due, in part, to the repayment for conversion difference they duly deserved in spite of a clear directive from the then Minister of Finance to the CAGD to stop all payments or deductions till a final resolution of the issues.

From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi