Newly appointed Deputy Minister of Information, Felix Kwakye Ofosu has reiterated government’s worry at the strike action by doctors, saying the doctors have not been fair to Ghanaians.
Speaking on Alhaji and Alhaji on Radio Gold, the deputy minister said no public worker was worse off under the Single Spine pay policy and hence it was unfortunate that despite enjoying the benefits of the policy, doctors were still holding the citizenry to ransom.
“The issues under discussion have nothing to do with salaries of doctors. Indeed the salaries of doctors have not only been enhanced, they have been paid regularly since the Single Spine Salary Structure came into being”, he said.
According to him what doctors were unhappy about was how their market premium should be calculated. But even as negotiations are on-going with regards to an agreed methodology for the calculation of market premium, government agreed to pay an interim market premium, he stated.
Felix Kwakye Ofosu said the three issues on the table between Government and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and other stakeholders are in respect of arrears of the interim market premium for the doctors, the conversion difference and how the conversion difference will impact on the doctors’ pension.
According to a government white paper governing the Single Spine salary structure, whenever the single spine’s basic pay is lower than the basic pay of whichever scale one is migrating from, a conversion difference must be paid to that individual to bring the person to parity with the salary on the pay scale being migrated from.
Felix Kwakye Ofosu however explained that while doctors are pushing for an upfront payment of outstanding interim market premium, government proposed to pay in installments — beginning in May this year, four months arrears of the 2012 market premium will be paid to doctors every month till it is cleared.
He said the doctors agreed to this payment schedule in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the doctors and other stakeholders.
According him, the leadership of the GMA still dissatisfied with all what has been agreed, said they wanted to see a commitment towards implementation of the agreements.
Government, according the Deputy Minister, then caused the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MPFEP) Major (Rtd.) M.S. Tara to write to the Controller and Accountant General instructing him that approval has been given for the payment of the 2012 market premium arrears detailing the payment schedule agreed upon by Government and Medical Association in the MoU.
So in effect Government has met all the conditions laid down by GMA leadership, Felix Kwakye Ofosu said.
“As a people we have to begin asking questions about the conduct of the leadership of the Ghana Medical Association”, he concluded.
In a related development, Joy News has gathered Government has directed the Health Minister, Sherry Ayittey and her colleague from the Employment and Labour Relations Ministry, Nii Armah Ashittey, to step in and prevent the doctors from activating the second stage of their industrial action – withdrawing emergency services.
The doctors’ strike which is already in day 14 has seen many public hospitals deserted as there are no doctors to attend to patients.