Three bodies given ultimatum to settle doctors' grievances

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Mr George Smith-Graham, FWSC Boss

The Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court yesterday issued a one-week ultimatum  to the National Labour Commission (NLC),  the  Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and the Fair Wages  and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to agree on a payment schedule on the conversion difference  for doctors.

That was after the court had refused a one-month request by the NLC for the GMA and the FWSC to agree on the schedule for payment.

According to the court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, the one-month directive issued by the NLC for the parties to agree on a payment schedule to make for an amicable solution of the doctors’ grievances was too long and, therefore, directed the parties to endeavour to do so within a week, failure of which the FWSC would be cited for contempt.

The GMA last Tuesday announced an end to a strike by its members which lasted almost one month.

Justice Ajet-Nasam said the court needed the total commitment of members of the GMA to their work and that he would personally conduct investigations to verify whether or not they had completely called off their strike.

“I will also do my underground work to see whether the strike has been called off and it is up to the GMA leadership to call on its members to go back to work,” he said.

He further requested the GMA President to see to it that all medical superintendents were at post and advised the association to go beyond issuing press releases and rather back its statements with action.

The President of the GMA, Dr Opoku-Adusei, on behalf of the GMA, pledged to the court to comply with the decision to call off the strike.

An emergency National Executive Council meeting of the GMA on April 14, 2013 decided on the withdrawal of out-patient care from April 15, 2013 and the full withdrawal of out-patient, in-patient and emergency services from April 22, 2013.

The council said the action was necessitated by the government's unwillingness to solve doctors’ grievances on market premium, reduced pensions and conversion differences accruing during their migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).

The association escalated its action when it asked its members to withdraw all out-patient, in-patient and emergency services from April 22, 2013.

In a related development, the Accra Fast Track High Court has adjourned to May 16, 2013 the case in which an Accra-based legal practitioner, Mr Tuinese Edward Amuzu, has dragged the GMA to court over its strike.

Story: Sebastian Syme

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