Ghana doctors threaten mass resignation

Aug 18, 2015 Ghana, which is under a three-year aid program with the International Monetary Fund to stabilize its economy, is currently experiencing a nationwide industrial action by doctors.

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) recently released a statement said the striking doctors would either call off the strike or resign en masse if the negotiations with the government fail to yield results.

Doctors in Ghana’s public health facilities, as part of their industrial action, have withdrawn emergency services and are attending only to in-patients; an action which mostly affected the poor and underprivileged who depend heavily on public health care.

Okpoti, a resident of Accra, commented on the industrial action:

“The doctor asked me to come today. When I was here last week, he asked me to do a hemoglobin test and present it to him but when I came he wasn’t available and he’s on strike,” she said.

According to Dr. Justice Duffu Yankson, Deputy General Secretary, Ghana Medical Association, the strike started as a result of government’s refusal to improve the allowances and other non-salary benefits

“This looks a little absurd because the very labour laws we worked with in this country mandates that employees especially professionals like us (doctors) should have these arrangements in place, we have done our utmost best to ensure that this is done it hasn’t happened and we’ve gotten to a point where we’re saying enough is enough,” said Yankson

According to President John Dramani Mahama, the Ghanaian government, which spends 50-55 percent of its tax revenues on public sector wages and compensation, is determined to follow the austerity measures outlined in the budget and would not approve release of money for higher salaries.

Any agreements that are reached in respect of allowances or conditions of services would have to be appropriately captured in the budget and I want to say for emphasis that I will not authorize any expenditure on wages and compensation not provided for in the budget. Fiscal discipline requires that not a single Pesewa is spent on remuneration outside what has been budgeted for,”

Labor analyst, Kofi Davor, who is very critical of the strike, had this to say:

“On the face of the law it is illegal. I mean when you’re negotiating or talking to somebody and you embark on a strike with the view to pressurizing the person to meet your demands, it is just like putting the gun at the person’s head and telling him to accede to your demands. It is never done in any negotiations. Everybody must have that atmosphere that enables him to talk faithfully and truthfully to the other party,” he said.

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