Comment by Minister's advisor trigger walk-out as Lab Scientists' strike enters day four
A strike by government laboratory scientists is expected to enter day four after negotiations to end the industrial action broke down over an 'infuriating' comment by the representative of the health minister.
The leadership of the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) was irked by the advisor to the Health minister Dr. Baffour Awuah who, during a misunderstanding with the reps of the striking workers, decided to defer to the minister whom he was representing in the meeting.
'If that is the case then I am going to give the draft to the minister' he is reported to have said.
The draft was a Memorandum of Understanding which has taken two days to prepare since the strike began Monday.
On the third day of the strike, a meeting between the two sides continued at the Health ministry in Accra where the sides went through the draft 'line by line'.
The draft was prepared by the laboratory scientists but while combing through it, the advisor was unhappy with some additions and wanted to defer to the minister, the Health ministry PRO Robert Cudjoe said on Joy FM's Top Story.
Mr. Cudjoe said they found new issues in the draft which had not been discussed on the first day of talks after the strike began.
He said until the disagreement over the draft, the negotiations between the two parties had been very cordial and felt the walk-out was uncalled for.
"It was a very nice meeting. All of a sudden because of a statement that he made, they became infuriated and they got out...just a comment from the Director and they walked out" the PRO who was at the meeting said.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists Dennis Adu Gyasi said government negotiator had taken an entrenched position during talks.
He said they found no need to continue with negotiations once the minster's representative could not reach an agreement with them.
"We have sat in a meeting since 2pm yesterday, so why would we just walk out?. It is just because the content...was not agreed to", he explained and revealed a desire to return to the negotiation table.
The lab scientists have four demands including a demand for a policy to standardise the results of laboratory test irrespective of where it is carried out in Ghana.
They also want a directorate to be created for them as well as a fund.
But key is a demand on government to correct salary discrepancies detected in 2012 after the introduction of the equitable public pay policy.
Dennis Adu-Gyasi told Joy News, laboratory technicians with diplomas were supposed to be ranked same or similar to diploma-holding nurses.
But they have been worse off since public service workers were migrated to the of single spine salary structure. He described it as a "great discrepancy".