Members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) have voted to extend their industrial action for two more weeks despite calls from various sectors to call it off.
[contextly_sidebar id=”xMiFVRN56vcZNhyzbNEVYyayNHdaPD4m”]This was agreed on at the doctors’ extraordinary general assembly meeting today [Friday] in Accra.
Reports suggest that about 213 of the members voted for the extension of the strike while 148 voted for the resumption of duty.
Citi News‘ Christopher Opoku reported that “a motion was presented to the assembly to either continue the strike or restore emergency services, but majority of the GMA members voted to continue the strike.”
“The GMA is hoping to enter further negotiations with government, barring which the doctors could go on a full blown strike,” he added.
Doctors in the public sector about two weeks ago withdrew services to outpatient departments and subsequently extended it to cover emergency services.
Several negotiations between the GMA and government have failed to yield any positive result.
The doctors had threatened to return to work only when government provides them with their conditions of service.
Our demands was for 2016 budget
Meanwhile, following announcement by President John Mahama that, he will not release allowances that have not been budgeted for, the President of the GMA, Dr. Kwabena Adusei Poku had explained that their demands were targeted at the 2016 budget.
“We have not said we needed money from government now. What the government negotiating team is not telling Ghanaians is that we said whatever agreement we come to will be factored in 2016 budget to start implementation in January 2016,” he added.
No work no pay
In a related development, government has sent a strong signal that it will not pay the striking doctors since their action is “illegal.”
A statement from the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations reminded the doctors that under the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), a worker on strike, “may forfeit his/her remuneration in respect of the period during which he/she is engaged in the illegal strike.”
The statement further directed “all heads of government establishments where workers have embarked on illegal (partial or full) strike actions to compile and submit to their respective Ministers of State the list of workers who have been absenting themselves from work as a result of a strike or protest.”
By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana