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Health News Thu, 14 Feb 2013

Pharmacists to go on strike

Members of the Government and Hospital Pharmacists (GHOSPA) have threatened to embark on a nationwide strike on February 22, if a decision on the payment of the appropriate market premium is not made on their income.


“Anything short of it, whatever the excuse, could be met by a nationwide withdrawal of service by pharmacists, Mr Stephen Corquaye, National Chairman of GHOSPA, said in a statement issued in Accra on Thursday and copied to the Ghana News Agency.


He said GHOSPA was shocked about the “alarming” amounts of money being paid to some health workers nationwide, following their migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) this year.


Mr Corquaye said it has come to light that with the exception of the entry point, all other pharmacists are drawing salaries far less than the previous Health Service Salary Structure 2 salaries.


This implies that GHOSPA members have been rendered terribly worse off by the SSSS policy implementation.

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“It vindicates the reason why GHOSPA was in a long deadlock opposing their migration since November 2011.


“GHOSPA believes the conversion difference in the Government White Paper of November 2009 was aimed at protecting Social Security contributions and avoiding any infractions of the ILO Conventions on economic/labour rights.


“The strange decision to unilaterally deduct the conversion difference has further deepened the woes of its members.


“All attempts at drawing the attention of Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Controller and Accountant General’s Department and the relevant authorities to rectify the anomaly has failed, thus members are being frustrated intentionally by authorities with one excuse after another,” he said.


Mr Corquaye said pharmacists have “unfortunately endured this unfair deduction of the conversion difference since 2010 resulting in abysmal, unacceptable and de-humanising salaries for members”.

He said sometimes, some pharmacists earned as low or as less than GH¢100 as monthly salary.


Furthermore, Social Security and National Insurance Trust contributions have been reduced remarkably thus making the workers totally worse off in real terms, both in active service and at pension.


GHOPA accused FWSC of doing injustice to pharmacists, by insisting that the market premium would not be touched, “in spite of the overwhelming evidence by GHOSPA on the grounds that the guidelines for developing market premium is before Cabinet”.


“Pharmacists find it utterly strange, curious and weird that in less than two months after refusing to decide on GHOSPA’s argument after one –and- a- half –year, the National Labour Commission has made specific decisions and given directions on the market premium to other workers in Ghana.


“GHOSPA recognises that though these guidelines were rightly envisaged under the 2009 White Paper several groups and institutions that adduced sufficient evidence between 2010 and December 2012 were awarded their due market premium except pharmacists,” Mr Corquaye said.

Source: GNA