The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) and its members and allied associations including the Ghana Physician Assistants Association and Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anesthetists withdrew their services on Monday, September 21, 2020.
Does the public know the reason leading to the strike action?
According to these associations, the decision to strike is part of their demands for improved conditions of service.
What do these associations mean by demands for improved conditions of service?
These are allowances due health workers. These are accommodation allowance, fuel allowance and on call duty allowance.
For several years, these allowances were being paid by the facility. For example, if a nurse works at ‘X’ government hospital, that hospital has to pay these allowances to the nurse from the funds generated by the hospital ‘X’.
It got to a point these facilities were not paying these allowances and they attributed it to less funds generated by the facility.
Doctors managed to get these allowances to be paid by the government through the controller. It is part of the doctor’s salary.
These allowances are the ones the GRNMA and other associations are requesting for.
Their request to the government is to pay their due allowances through the controller per what is done for doctors.
There have been back-door negotiations but it has not being fruitful. It has got to a point that these groups of health workers believe they cannot be taken for granted, therefore resulting in the strike action taking place now.
Now the questions to be answered are:
Is it the right time for strike action especially during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Is it the right of these health workers to go on strike?
The jury is still out as to the right course of action and the recourse to be taken.
Ivy Yemoteley Anum
Student Journalist and Writer
African University College of Communications (AUCC)