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Nurses, midwives defy court to embark on strike

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Nurses, midwives defy court to embark on strike 1

 

Tens of thousands of Ghanaian nurses and midwives launched a full-scale strike nationwide, despite a court order asking them to return to work.

The strike which kicks off today, Monday, September 21 is organized by the Ghana Registered Nurses’ and Midwives’ Association (GRNMA) which has some 60,000 members at neighbourhood clinics and major hospitals across the country.

Other public sector health workers including Physician Assistants (PAs) and Anaesthetics (CRAs) have also been directed to withdraw their services.

The medics said the government’s stance during negotiations for improved conditions of service fell foul of Act 651 of the Labour Law.

Section 97 of the cited law deals with issues of good faith for stakeholders, which the medics appear to have an issue with.

The action has forced Ghana’s major general hospitals to limit their hours and delay scheduled surgeries, sources tell Dailymailgh.com.

Strike illegal, return to the negotiation table — Government to GRNMA

The medics are demanding improved conditions of service, amid fears of a surge in coronavirus cases.

The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) has asked the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) to back down on its intended strike and return to the negotiation table to have its grievances resolved.

According to the Commission, the government has shown enough commitment to have the concerns of the health staff resolved, hence the labour action is in serious breach of the rules of engagement between the two sides.

Although the National Labour Commission (NLC) has secured an interim injunction to restrain members of the Association from laying down their tools, the nurses say their strike is in full force.

In a letter from the FWSC detailing the extent of deliberations between the government and the nurses, the Commission said the strike by the GRNMA is illegal because both parties have in principle agreed to six out of the eight outstanding proposals as presented by the Association with a four-week time frame for further action following their last meeting on September 16, 2020.

“It must be noted that the Government Team, in principle, agreed to six (6) out of the eight outstanding proposals submitted by GRNMA. Both parties therefore quickly agreed to a four (4) week time frame where concrete decisions would be taken on the outstanding proposals and also agreed to keep these out of the media for the duration of negotiations. The government team are, therefore, at a loss as to why the GRNMA decided to declare an industrial action effective 21st September 2020, contrary to our underlying agreement reached on 16th September 2020. Any attempt to embark on this strike action will be illegal”, the statement from the Commission stated.

The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, while acknowledging the hardwork and commitment of the nurses in the COVID-19 era, has thus urged the GRNMA to come back to the negotiation table facilitated by the National Labour Commission to find a lasting solution to their condition hard-working.

“Government would like to show appreciation for all the good work that the entire membership of GRNMA has done even in the face of the COVID – 19 Pandemic. In the spirit of the goodwill shown by Government towards health workers and in particular nurses and midwives since 2017 in the areas of recruitment and restoration of Nursing Trainee Allowance among others, we would by this press release urge the leadership of the GRNMA to return to the negotiating table in order to reach an amicable agreement”, the statement added.

Other public sector health workers including Physician Assistants (PAs) and Anaesthetics (CRAs) have also been directed to withdraw their services.

The medics said the government’s stance during negotiations for improved conditions of service fell foul of Act 651 of the Labour Law.

Section 97 of the cited law deals with issues of good faith for stakeholders, which the medics appear to have an issue with.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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