Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bright Wereko Brobbey, has assured Ghanaians that government would put the necessary measures in place to avert a possible strike by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on Monday.
“It shouldn’t be a problem. Ghanaians should not panic,” he said, noting that government has begun engagement with the GMA to ensure they do not embark on strike.
“The public should be rest assured. There is no need for panic”, Wereko Brobbey reiterated in an interview with the sit-in host of Onua FM’s Yen Sempa, Nana Yaw Opare on Friday.
The GMA had indicated that it will soon withdraw services at the various government hospitals over failure of government to address issues relating to conditions of service of its members.
The health professionals gave the indication in a communiqué following their 61st annual general conference in Tamale.
“A one-week window is hereby offered Government (MoH) that is, if by 1800 hours GMT on 17th November, 2019, the Conditions of Service Document for Medical Doctors/Dentists working with the Ministry of Health and its agencies has not been signed off for implementation effective 1st January 2020, the following set of activities shall kick start: a. Effective Monday, 18th November 2019, all Medical Doctors/Dentists working in the public sector shall withdraw Outpatient Department (OPD) Services. This would continue till Sunday, 1st December 2019”.
But the Deputy Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira Constituency in the Central Region, pleaded with “GMA to give us few times to sort out the issue because we don’t normally have problems with the doctors. They are tolerant and patient and we sympathize with them”.
He noted that “the issues they are raising were done under the previous government but it failed to sign. Such issues should not be done by the Employment Ministry alone”.
“We need the approval from the Finance Ministry and that is why it consumes time. We don’t have that mandate because we don’t know how the monitory aspect is done. We need to look into the coffers”.
Mr. Wereko-Brobbey explained that “government is sensitive to the plights of the doctors. We shall do it by all means”.
Though he raised concern about the demands, he was certain they would be addressed.
“Their demands are sometimes too many. They bring so many demands to the negotiations tables but between now and Sunday, a lot can be achieved to ensure they will not embark on the strike on Monday”.
But the Deputy General Secretary of the GMA, Dr Titus Beyou, told Yen Sempa “we stand by our decisions to embark on strike on Monday”.
“We met the government last week and we shall meet them again today [Friday] and that will determine the decision to take”.
He said “the deliberations are going on well and if we get a signed document we shall rescind”.
“That fact that we are talking is a good thing. We hope the talks will bring good results so that there will be no strike on Monday. Government has showed enough commitments but they need to do a lot of consultations”.
Dr. Beyou added “we need the signed document. We will have all the time…even if they call us on Sunday we shall come. They should try and come to some sort of conclusion”.