Labour Consultant, Kwesi Danso Acheampong says although the condition of service proposal presented by doctors to government is frightening, a deal that satisfies both parties can be reached.
Speaking on Adom FM’s morning show ‘Dwaso Nsem’, he said “Yes, the figures in the proposals are too high but they are only proposals.”
He said the Fair Wages and Salary Commission only needs a mandate from government, sit with the doctors and strike a deal.
“The government should bring its counter proposal, empower Fair Wages Commission, give them the government’s mandate and discuss the issue with the doctors, those that end in deadlock can be revisited and addressed subsequently.”
Over 2,000 doctors in the country declared a nationwide strike on July 30 to demand the provision of conditions of service.
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) declared the strike on Wednesday after a crunch meeting with the Ministers of Employment and Labour Relations, Finance and Health ended in a deadlock.
This means that the GMA will withdraw all out-patient department (OPD) services to government hospitals across the country.
The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital confirmed this when it announced the closure of its OPD due to the strike . A release from the hospital indicated that only in patients will be catered for at the hospital.
The GMA is asking among other things for utility allowance of 20 per cent of their basic salary per month; special risk allowance of 25 per cent of basic salary per month; professional allowance of 50 per cent of their basic salary per month and vehicle maintenance allowance of 20 per cent of their basic salary per month.
But this seems too much for a government that is grappling with a 90 million cedis public debt.
A presidential staffer, Stan Dogbe, in a Facebook post questioned the proposal saying “how many gallons of fuel do judges, teachers, senior public servants take? Assuming that doctors must take more than all other workers, what should be the ceiling? Will a jump from 20 to 80gallons be considered realistic?”
Mr Acheampong questioned why Stan Dogbe will publish contents of the proposal adding that “it is a very bad way of negotiating”.
He says the most appropriate way to deal with the issue is to tell the doctors the truth.
“If the minister gets petrol for free he can’t tell the doctors they can’t have same. You don’t leave above a lifestyle the economy cannot hold. Now V8 has become ‘trotro’. Every child who enters politics nowadays is driving one and gets free petrol. If you are doing this how you can tell doctors you can’t give them what they want. If we are supposed to tighten the belt, everyone must.
“Those who live on politics daily should leave these things for professionals to bring in their professional ideas and do their propaganda on the campaign platform or in the bush somewhere”, he added.
Mr Acheampong advised the Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu to be bold and get to the Cabinet and tell them “this is a must and government must mandate fair wages properly and resolve this issue by creating terms and conditions for the doctors and health service employees.
He said government must take seriously the health of the citizens because “this issue should not lead to a national strike or a mass resignation.”
Meanwhile, the strike by doctors across the country is set to intensify as more doctors in the various regions have declared their intention to join.
The negotiations on conditions of service with the doctors will continue despite the strike.
Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Naa Sakwaba Akwa | [email protected]
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