The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) will today hold a crucial emergency meeting to decide whether to embark on its planned mass resignation action on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 following the inability of the government to give them conditions of service.
Today’s meeting, to be held at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, is to decide on the next line of action after the June 30, 2015 deadline the doctors gave to the government.
The meeting comes after leaders of public sector health workers unions last Friday signed onto a framework that will guide them in negotiations for their conditions of service.
The framework was signed by the Minister of Health, Mr Alex Segbefia, while Mr Abu Kuntulo, the General Secretary of the Health Service Workers Union, signed on behalf of public sector health workers.
The ceremony was witnessed by representatives of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), the Ghana Hospital Pharmacists Association and the Health Service Workers Union (HSWU).
The GMA, at the end of its third national executive council (NEC) meeting in Cape Coast on May 31, 2015, threatened to resign en masse if its members did not have a negotiated and signed conditions of service by the end of June 2015.
At the meeting the GMA said it would hold the government to its promise to ensure that GMA members working with the Ministry of Health (MoH) through the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the teaching hospitals were provided with conditions of service.
According to the General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Frank Serebour, “The signing does not take them any step further in their agitations for a condition of service to be put in place.”
In an interview on the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Dr Serebour told the Daily Graphic that the public sector health workers “are still at square one in their request for a condition of service”.
According to him, what was needed was the actual negotiations which would determine their conditions of service.
To that end, he reiterated that the GMA was going to hold the emergency meeting to decide if they should still go by their earlier call to resign en masse.
He said the deadline of June 30, 2015 for resigning en masse was still in force till the meeting decided otherwise.
“We do not have a condition of service, this is only a framework,” Dr Serebour said, adding that “the negotiations which will bring into force a condition of service is long overdue”.
He said all along, the health workers had only been meeting to edit the framework, adding that, “nothing has changed for us to start negotiating.”
In a separate interview after the signing ceremony, the Minister of Health said the parties had agreed to a road map which would guide them to ensure that they followed laid-down rules which would in effect lead to negotiations.
He said signing onto the framework was a major step which would help all parties during the negotiation processes.
The “Framework for Negotiating Conditions of Service for Ghana Public Sector Health Workforce” was presented by the technical working group which worked on it, to the Minister of Health, Mr Segbefia, on June 2, 2015.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) together with the Attorney-General’s Department and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) after the presentation, was tasked to look into it and make the necessary inputs.