Explainer: These are all the allowances the striking Ghanaian nurses are demanding
A nationwide strike by members of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) on Monday, September 21, 2020, debilitated health delivery across the country.
Harrowing tales of how sick patients needing emergency medical attention were turned away at public hospitals have inundated news report of the strike.
In one such report, patients on admission at the Sandema District hospital in the Builsa North District of the Upper East Region were without care from nurses, midwives, and Physician Assistants.
The GRNMA and its allied groups of critical health service providers, including the Nurse Practitioners Association of Ghana and the Nurses and Midwives Specialists Society of Ghana, embarked on the strike to push for better conditions of service from the government.
An interlocutory injunction obtained by the National Labour Commission (NLC) against the GRNMA to restrain the association from embarking on the strike did not stop the group.
They hope that the strike would compel the government to heed to their demands.
What are these demands?
The GRNMA and its allied groups have been making the following eight key demands since 2019:
1. Fuel and car maintenance allowance
2. Professional development allowance
3. Accommodation/rent allowance
4. Uniform allowance
5. Book and Research allowance (for nurses who are also teachers)
6. Rural areas allowance
7. Transportation allowance
8. On-call duty allowance
The nurses want these allowances to be paid as part of their salaries.
They also argue that not all of these allowances will be paid to every nurse.
A spokesperson for the Association, Florence Attah, told GhanaWeb that nurses in the teaching profession, for instance, will be the only ones qualified to receive the Book and Research allowance.
“For the fuel allowance, some of the nurses stay in very far places and have to journey long distances to come to work. We expect the fuel allowance to be something small to cushion us,” she said.
Another contentious issue that came up during a meeting with the government over the demands is a proposal by the government that while not all of the allowance will be approved, those that will be approved will only be paid to Principal Nurses and higher ranks.
The Association insists that will not be a fair proposition.
The Association on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, asked its members to suspend the strike.
GRNMA has said all its members and allied groups across the country will resume full service from Thursday, September 24, 2020.
President of the Association, Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, explained that a court bailiff on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, “formally and properly” served the GRNMA Administrator with the Interlocutory Injunction against the strike secured by the NLC.
The GRNMA has said it will resume services across the country from Thursday, but its next move will depend on the outcome of negotiations with the government on its demands.