GMA Reacts To Government’s Position On Doctors’ Strike

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has said that it is resolute in its decision to continue with the ongoing withdrawal of services, to ensure that the right things are done in this country.

It has, therefore, encouraged doctors to continue with the fight, to ensure that the anomalies in pension contributions and the market premium payments are corrected.

The General Secretary of the association, Dr. Frank Serebour, in a statement issued on Wednesday, in reaction to alleged claims by the government claim that the reasons for the withdrawal of their services were not tenable, said that the government was the first to flout the National Labour Commission (NLC) ruling of November 4, 2011, as indicated in the decision of the NLC on February 13, 2013,

The statement also said the issues of pension, as raised by the association, were also credible, and said that explaineds why the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) wrote to the GMA, seeking to discuss contributions of medical doctors towards the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension.

A statement signed by the Minister of Information and Media Relations, Mahama Ayariga, indicated that the government maintains that the ongoing strike by the Ghana Medical Association was illegal, unfounded and insensitive. It also accused the doctors of peddling falsehood in the media.

‘Government wishes to remind members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) that their current strike action is illegal, and their claims in the media that [the] government is refusing to abide by the ruling of the National Labour Commission (NLC) are false.’

The statement also observed that the ‘distortion of facts and issues’ the GMA was bringing on the table for discussions, ‘cannot be allowed to continue, especially when members of the GMA working in government hospitals have been regularly paid their salaries.’

But, the GMA has rubbished the position of the government, and urged the general public to disregard it, describing it as ‘propaganda from the government.’

Doctors have, since Monday April 8, 2013, embarked on a nationwide strike action not to attend to out-patient cases at government hospitals, which action is intended to continue till Sunday April 14, 2013.

By a resolution, a proposed second phase of the strike action would be activated from Monday April 15, if their grievances are not addressed by then. The doctors intend to turn away all cases, including emergency ones, until their grievances are fully resolved.

The declaration of the strike last Monday follows the insistence of the GMA not to abide by the ruling upheld by the NLC on April 5, 2013, regarding the payment schedule of salary arrears of doctors.

The doctors are angered by the decision of the NLC to uphold the FWSC payment schedule, under which a three-tranche payment arrangement of the 2012 arrears owed them was proposed, and by which the first tranche was scheduled to be in May 2013, with the final payment to be made in September 2013.

They expected the NLC to overturn the proposed payment schedule instituted by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission