The Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Kweku Baako Jnr. has condemned the Association of Ghanaian Medical Doctors (AGMED as an opportunistic group that should be ignored in the ongoing strike by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA).
Mr. Baako, a discussant on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana, said “these opportunistic interventions does not create the condition for serious discussions. They should not be tolerated”.
The Association of Ghanaian Medical Doctors, a newly formed association had earlier issued a statement describing the strike by the GMA as illegal.
It called on all doctors to disregard the strike and work in the interest of mother Ghana and their respected clients.
The statement signed by Dr Alexander Brown in Accra yesterday said “as doctors any action we take should lead to the advancement and improvement of the health status of Ghanaians especially the poor and vulnerable”.
“We, therefore, call on Ghanaian doctors to resist the temptation of sectarian influence but rather bring pressure to bear on the executives to demonstrate their efficacy by adopting legal processes to address the concerns of doctors,”.
But in a sharp rebuttal, the Managing Editor said “I hope we are not going back to the Acheampong regime because this subculture doesn’t work”.
He recalled during the Acheampong regime when lawyer Thomas Nuako Ward-Brew, formed a splinter group – the Bar Association of Ghana (BAG) to undermine the Ghana Bar Association (GBA).
He also described the recent calls on government by the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) to lock-out the striking doctors to serve as a deterrent to other public sector workers as “a useless prescription”.
The government has also said the current strike by the GMA was illegal and that demand by the doctors, for a one-off payment of their arrears, instead of the installment payments, as ruled by the National Labour Commission(NLC),was in contravention of Section 158(1) of the Labour Act 651.
But in a counter-accusation, the GMA has pointed out that the government was the first to flout the NLC ruling given on November 4, 2011.
Mr. Baako described government’s posture as “a ready to fight” attitude which was not helpful in resolving the stalemate and called on government to soften its stance.
He appealed to the doctors to consider the offer by government to pay their outstanding arrears in tranches.
“Where we have reached I would plead that the doctors should go back”.
Mr. Baako said the GMA and other institutions of state have broken the law at various times. It was therefore not progressive in these circumstances to merely insist that actions were illegal, he added.
Mr. Baako believed that although government has urged NHIS card holders to seek medical care in private hospitals, “they are no substitutes for the real solution”.
A baffled Kweku Baako said he couldn’t appreciate why arrears are left unpaid for the past one year.
“What is it in the system that allows arrears to accumulate for over a year?”he wondered.
A member of the NDC Legal Team, Victor Kojogah Adawudu, fellow discussant said the strike by various labour groups “are bastardizing our institutions”.
He identified a lack of trust between labour unions and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the National Labour Commission on one hand.
“They are not being frank and honest to each other”. He also joined calls for an industrial truce.