Negotiations between doctors & gov’t stall

The negotiations between the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and government for codified conditions of service for doctors have stalled, Joy News have learnt.

The two parties are yet to agree on realistic and acceptable conditions of service, two months after they entered into negotiations.

This has led to some members of Ghana Medical Association questioning government’s commitment to fulfill its promise to provide a codified conditions of service for doctors.

Some of them told Joy News’ Matilda Wemega government continues to bring counter proposals any time they meet, an action which has stalled the negotiation process.

Government announced in August that it expects to clinch a deal with doctors by the end of October after they called off a crippling two-week strike over the lack of conditions of service.

A relieved Employment Minister Haruna Iddrisu called the doctors’ decision to call off the strike as “undoubtedly welcoming news”.

“For us as government we had indicated that once this action is over we will reopen negotiation in earnest with the GMA and other health workers,” Haruna Iddrisu said on Multi TV and Joy FM’s Newsfile Saturday.

In accordance with this commitment, the minister said government will be meeting the Ghana Medical Association on Monday,24 August 2014 to immediately re-start talks on their conditions of service.

Haruna Iddrisu revealed that government and the GMA had already negotiated four out of 12 of their proposed conditions of service.

The GMA has been leading an unprecedented push for a documented set of conditions of service. They say since the Ghana Health Service was established in 1996, doctors working within the service do not have conditions of service.

Except for a two-week mortuary fees scrapped off for a dead doctor, they claim there is no codified conditions of service.

Even when their spouses or children get sick they are made to pay for the expenses involved in taking care of them, they claim.

They are therefore demanding conditions of service and are proposing, among other things a 40% increase in their basic salary as accommodation allowance as well as 100, 90 and 80 gallons of fuel per month for the different levels of the profession.

They are also requesting 50% of basic salary per month as professional allowance, a 30% of their basic salary every month as clothing allowance.

Some critics, especially government officials have described the demands as outrageous.

After negotiations broke down in July 2015, the doctors called a strike to demand for their conditions of service, a strike which lasted for nearly three weeks.

Two of Ghana’s ex-presidents- Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor- as well as the Asantehene all intervened and asked the doctors to return to work. They did after assurance from government that a codified conditions of service will be signed in no time.

But that promise is yet to be fulfilled as both parties appear to be taking entrenched positions. After several meetings nothing concrete has come out of it, Joy News has learnt.

But the doctors are hoping to make progress when they meet with the National Labour Commission later Wednesday, Matilda Wemega reported.

 

Source – Joyfm