The Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu has pleaded with the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), to abandon their intentions of embarking on an industrial action.
The UTAG and POTAG has threatened in writing, that they will go on strike if their book and research allowances are not paid. All members of the GMA have also threatened to resign if issues concerning their conversation differences and conditions of service are not fully taken care of. At the recent two-day forum on the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), the Minister disclosed that he had received text messages from the presidents of POTAG and UTAG, calling his attention to the payment of the book and research allowances. In response to that, he told them that the book and research allowances has been abolished, and has been replaced with the book and research fund; a development they are both aware of.
“I reminded them that it was a collective decision to support government policy decision to replace that with the book and research fund,” he said.
Lectures at public tertiary institutions since last year have been trying all they could to see that government do not scrap the research and book allowances. They withdrew their services for a number of weeks over the issue but the government refused to maintain the research and book allowance. Mr. Iddrisu therefore recommended that the teacher unions should work together with government to help find a lasting solution to the problem. He further urged them to “maintain the industrial peace and harmony that are on our campuses.”
As regards the conversion difference and conditions of service for the members of the GMA, the Employment Minister indicated that he is fully aware of the threat by doctors in the country to resign by June 30, 2015. The doctors want government to issue a collective bargaining agreement with them as regards their conditions of service.
According to the GMA, since the Ghana Health Service (GHS) was established in 1996, no conditions of service have been issued the doctors although they have complained about the issue on several occasions. Therefore, this time around, the doctors are resolved and bent on seeing that they get all that is due to them, and that the problem is solved once and for all.
Notwithstanding, the Minister asked them to be “cautious not to employ an industrial action in undermining the peace that exists in the country.” He however assured them that they are doing some serious job towards taking care of all the problems bordering on market premium, computation of pensions which affect health workers and conclusion of processes leading to the adoption of conditions of service for health workers.