Upgrade working conditions of mortuary workers – Haruna Iddrisu
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, has admonished government to improve the conditions of health workers in the country as mortuary workers agitate for better remuneration.
The former Minister for Employment and Labour Relations wants better incentives for Ghanaian workers ahead of Workers’ Day celebration scheduled for Wednesday, 1 May 2019.
“Mr Speaker, when mortuary workers go on strike, they allow bodies to decompose on the floors. We need to do something about this including the Ghana Association of Workers who want improved conditions of service,” the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South said while contributing to a statement on May Day in Parliament on Tuesday, 30 April 2019.
He continued: “Arguably the parliamentary service that you are seeking to improve [their welfare] with revised conditions of service, we have to make it an essential service provider so that tomorrow they will not say they are also going on strike. There are health workers [too]. Even as we appeal to them, there are still some workers within the GMA [Ghana Medical Association], that government must do well to implement the codified conditions of service that we agreed with them.”
The law maker's comment comes in the wake of threats by Members of the Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG) who have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike from 2 May 2019 if their call for better conditions of service are not met by 30 April 2019.
According to MOWAG, the relevant state authorities are dragging their feet in resolving their grievances.
The group, in a statement, said: “It is with very heavy hearts that we, the leadership of MOWAG and the entire mortuary workers in Ghana, after many years of living and working under horrific conditions in the various state and private mortuaries across Ghana, as a result of frustrations, had to resort to another industrial action (nationwide indefinite strike action) to drum home our demands of better conditions of service to enhance our socio-economic well-being and interest.”
In March this year, the mortuary workers suspended an earlier strike following the intervention of the National Labour Commission (NLC).
A meeting was held with the leadership of MOWAG in the presence of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), whose representatives were directed by the NLC to resume negotiations with the aggrieved workers.
But MOWAG, in its latest statement, said the authorities charged to ensure they get better working conditions are dragging their feet, hence their resolve to lay down their tools on 2 May 2019.
“It is our observation and impression that given the brief history of MOWAG’s efforts to have a fair treatment since 2017, it appears that it is not the intention of the institutions set up to consider our grievances to do anything about the same at all. The intention, in our view, of these bodies, is simply to stall the discussion, and, if any negotiation comes off at all, to set up diversions such as setting up a committee here and there; and generally, to do things that do not answer concerns or issues raised by MOWAG. MOWAG refuses to fall for that,” the statement said.
The mortuary workers have, therefore, called on the Ministry of Health, FWSC and the NLC to address their concern or they strike indefinitely.