Sacking striking doctors won’t resolve impasse – Austin Gamey

General News of Thursday, 11 April 2013

Source: Joy Online

Austine Gamey

Labour expert and mediator, Austin Gamey says calls for government to sack striking workers, is not the solution to ongoing standoff between the government and labour unions in the country.

Mr. Gamey said inasmuch as the strike may be described as “illegal”, sacking the workers will not solve the problem at hand.

The country has been rocked by a series of labour unrest following the implementation of the single spine pay policy.

Members of University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) are on indefinite strike, to press home their demands for full payment of allowances due them since 2012.

These were preceded by similar actions by members of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Concerned Teachers Association and Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (TEWU). The teachers have however suspended their strike following assurances that their concerns were being addressed.

Government, however, says it does not have the money to effect a one-off payment but could do so in tranches.

A labour consultant, Senyo Adjabeng has urged government to consider withdrawing the salaries of doctors or terminating their appointments as measures to force them back to work.

But Mr. Gamey rather suggested that those at the forefront of labour unions, particularly members of UTAG and the GMA, should work on their emotions while reacting to comments emanating from their decision to embark on strike.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show Thursday, he suggested a more humble and strategic approach to addressing the issue, which he was optimistic will end “soon”.

Meanwhile, Information and Media Relations Minister, Mahama Ayariga, has indicated, government was yet to consider sacking the striking doctors or withholding their salaries, despite the fact that their action is “illegal and insensitive”.

Mr. Ayariga said government will continue to use dialogue to state its position, in order to build a stronger relationship between it and the workers.

He debunked claims that government was intimidating the striking doctors by refusing to yield to their demand.

According to Mr. Ayariga, government is mindful about making unrealistic promises to the doctors- which used to be the practice in situations like this – but prefers to be truthful and gain the trust and confidence from the doctors.

“We don’t want to make any commitment under pressure which we cannot fulfill, which could affect the trust between government and doctors,” Mr. Ayariga maintained.