Inside Ghana calls on the leadership of the Ghana Medical Association to rescind its strike decision with immediate effect.
We call on doctors across the length and breadth of the country to pick up their white coats and stethoscopes and attend to patients as their decision to withhold services to Ghanaians is illegal.
We acknowledge and appreciate the concerns they have raised pertaining their salaries, but as an essential service provider, the labour act bars them from going on strike.
The 2003 Labour Act 651, section 163 states, “An employer carrying on or a worker engaged in, an essential service shall not resort to a lockout or strike in connection with or in furtherance of any industrial dispute involving the workers in the essential service”.
Section 161, (1) also states, “a party to an industrial dispute shall not resort to a strike or lockout during the period when negotiation, mediation or arbitration proceedings are in progress”.
Subsection(2) states ”any party who contravenes subsection (1) is liable for any damage, loss or injury suffered by any other party to the dispute”.
Inside Ghana, therefore believes the current conduct and posture of GMA is illegal and must not be countenanced.
Section 158 of the Labour Act 651 states in clear terms that the decision of the commission shall constitute the award and shall be binding on all parties.
The National Labour Commission, as an arbitrator by law has the powers of a High Court, section 139 of the Labour Act 651 and must be respected as such.
Ghana as a sovereign state is governed by the rule of law and not a jungle where the strong should survive.
The decision of the leadership of Ghana Medical Association to resort to strike and not obey the rulings set out by the NLC is an affront to our democracy.
Actions of labour unions which seem to bastardize the National Labour Commission must not be tolerated as such effrontery undermines the success story of our democratic credentials in the last two decades.
It is unfortunate that a section of Ghanaians feel this action by the doctors carry some element of political current but we at Inside Ghana believe that the leadership of the Ghana Medical Association has not demonstrated good enough faith as required of them.
Section 153 of Labour Act 651 puts it that “the parties to an industrial dispute are under an obligation to negotiate in good faith with a view to reaching a settlement of the dispute in accordance with the dispute settlement procedures established in the collective agreement or contract of employment”.
Inside Ghana therefore appeal to the doctors to rescind their strike action with immediate effect to avert a possible legal tango. Holding the State hostage is not acceptable.
George Spencer Quaye
Director of Operations