A senior executive of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) insists inasmuch as patients have the right to be treated by qualified medical personnel, the doctors also have a right to insist on being paid the right salaries and allowances agreed upon with their employer.
According to Doctor Frank Siribuor, General Secretary of the GMA, doctors “have not sworn an oath of poverty” and will continue to demand their pound of flesh from government.
Members of the Ghana Medical Association have for almost three weeks now, withdrawn their services from government hospitals to press home their demand for the payment of their unpaid market premium and negotiations on their pensions and other benefits.
Despite an agreement in principle to pay the entitlements, GMA members say government has often reneged on such promises in the past, and will only go back to work after receiving iron clad assurances.
Government through the National Labour Commission (NLC) has filed an application at the Accra High Court to enforce a directive of April 10, 2013 for the GMA to call off its strike while negotiations continue between the GMA and government on issues of concern.
However, the leadership of the GMA have called the bluff of government and promised to meet the NLC in court. The President of the GMA, in an interview with the Daily Graphic newspaper, described the court action as “shameful.”
He declared: “It is shameful that in a country of a minimum of 2,300 doctors the government cannot pay them but rather dodges its responsibility by hiding behind suits, Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei.
Dr Opoku-Adusei’s stance is strongly supported by his General Secretary Frank Siribuor, who argues that members of the Association are ready to meet the NLC in court to fight for their right.
While acknowledging the likely effects of their strike action on sick patients Dr Siribuor maintained that doctors also had a right to be paid the right wage for work done, insisting doctors did “not take a vow of poverty” in addition to swearing the Hippocratic Oath.
Speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show of Thursday April 25, 2013 Dr Siribuor said they were forced to intensify their strike due to a number of factors, including the posture of government communicators and the continuous breach of good faith by government and other stakeholders in the labour front, especially the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and National Labour Commision.