The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) says the move by the National Labour Commission (NLC) to block the industrial action of nurses and midwives in court was wrong.
This, according to the association, has the tendency to provoke the health workers who are agitating for a better conditions of service.
In an interview with Accra based radio station, Starr FM on Tuesday, the Ashanti regional chairman for the association, Dr Paa Kwesi Baidoo advised the commission to apologise to the nurses.
“I think the labour commission should apologise to nurses for the stance they wanted to take. Going forward, they shouldn’t employ such tactics. Once you go to court in that manner you make people angry. These are people who have sacrificed so much, they have given everything”, he said.
He also urged the government to quickly address the concerns of the nurses so they can return to work.
Justifying the strike, he said, “They are asking that the same hospitals they are working they are given some basic care and leverage and not to continue with the situation where when they are sick they are asked to pay initial cost before they are treated,”.
Dr Baidoo also blamed successive governments of neglecting the welfare of health workers.
“I am honestly not surprised that the condition of service hasn’t been addressed. I will say successive governments for a lack of a better word haven’t respected the condition of service of health workers. In the midst of this pandemic, this is a bad situation so if President Akufo-Addo is listening, please take personal responsibility and deal with this matter”.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has appealed to striking nurses to call off their strike for the sake of the country’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Underscoring the important role nurses’ play in health delivery, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye said the country is on the verge of winning the war against the disease and cannot afford their absence.
He urged the nurses to put the interest of the nation above their personal interest and return to work to help curtail the spread of the virus in Ghana.
“I am appealing to the nurses “look at the situation with COVID and come back to work to negotiate. Let’s put the nation’s health first. Come back to work and I believe that the discussions will continue”.
Ghana has so far recorded 46, 062 Covid-19 cases with 45,258 recoveries, 507 active cases and 297 deaths.
In a statement issued last Thursday, the GRNMA threatened to lay down its tools in demand of better conditions of service.
It said the government’s stance during negotiations fell foul of Act 651 of the Labour Law, which deals with issues of good faith for stakeholders, with which the association appears to have an issue.
The statement, signed jointly by the presidents of the GRNMA, the Ghana Physician Assistants Association and the Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anesthetists, also directed the public to seek medical attention from other health facilities.
On September 18, the NLC obtained an interlocutory injunction against the GRNMA to restrain the association from embarking on its proposed strike.
The Accra High Court (Labour Division Court 1), presided over by Justice Frank Aboagye Rockson, in granting the injunction, ordered the nurses to sit down with the NLC to get their grievances resolved.