Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu says the threat by doctors to resign en masse if their conditions of service are not reviewed by June ending is “unnecessary and uncalled for.”
The minister assured that Government is working assiduously to address the concerns of all health workers even before the June ending deadline is reached.
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) gave the June 30 ultimatum shortly after a meeting with the Labour Ministry, Wednesday.
Deputy General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson says the absence of a collective bargaining agreement for the group was a violation of the labour law.
“We have gotten to a point where we say enough is enough,” he said.
He said doctors, as a group of professionals in the country, cannot continue to work under the current conditions if Government as an employer refuses to provide appropriate conditions of service.
“We will resign and leave the health service to the Ministry and its agencies to run the way they want to run it because we think this is a big injustice”, he threatened.
The Association also expressed concern about why some newly graduated doctors were still not employed at a time when the country needs more doctors.
The doctors are wondering why Government would deny freezing employment into the health and education sectors and yet have graduate doctors sit at home.
But the sector minister told Joy FM’s Super morning show host Kojo Yankson on Thursday there will be no need for the doctors to resign.
“I have given them my assurance and that of Government that for the first time in the history of the country the government is committed to concluding and signing onto a condition of service for all health service workers in Ghana,” he said.
He wondered why the Association would be issuing such an ultimatum just a day after he had met with them and more importantly at a time its members are actually chairing a committee working on conditions of service for all health workers.
He added that he has continuously advised the GMA and other health workers against going on strike because they offer essential services and the lives lost as a result of their strikes can never be brought back.
The Minister also described as “unacceptable” the decision by the Ghana Health Service to keep doctors at home when their services are required in hospitals across the country.
He said the GHS has been instructed to issue employment letters to the affected doctors, adding, the practice in which the doctors are paid seven months after they are employed has also been reviewed and that the doctors will now be paid at least three months after they are employed.