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We’re willing to sign GMA’s conditions of service document – FWSC

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The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) has expressed its willingness to sign the agreed conditions of service document for Medical Doctors/Dentists working with the Ministry of Health and its agencies.

This promise follows the Ghana Medical Association’s (GMA) threat to withdraw its services over the failure of the government to put into effect the agreed conditions of service of its members.

The GMA has given government a one-week ultimatum to sign the document or risk having them withdraw their services gradually.

“A one-week window is hereby offered Government (MoH) that is, if by 1800 hours GMT on 17th November 2019, the Conditions of Service Document for Medical Doctors/Dentists working with the Ministry of Health and its agencies has not been signed off for implementation effective 1st January 2020, the following set of activities shall kick start:

a. Effective Monday, 18th November 2019, all Medical Doctors/Dentists working in the public sector shall withdraw Outpatient Department (OPD) Services. This would continue till Sunday, 1st December 2019.

b. From Monday 2nd December, 2019, to Sunday 8th December 2019 emergency services shall be withdrawn.

c. From Monday, 9th December 2019, all services shall be totally withdrawn.”

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Chief Executive Officer of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Dr. Eric Kwapong said the Commission hopes to sign the document by Wednesday after finalising negotiations with the GMA, the Finance Ministry and Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.

“As I speak to you, I am more anxious to sign the document than they are because when you sign a document that is legally binding, it gives everyone the comfort and the peace of mind to go back and rest a bit because negotiations can be stressful.”

“The point of difference is [minimal] and I sincerely believe when we meet we should be able to do that. We cleared it with the Ministry of Health, the Employment and Labour Relations Ministry, the Ministry of Finance and hopefully Wednesday and the day after tomorrow, we should be able to meet and finalize negotiations and bring an end to this four-month negotiations.”

Mr. Kwapong also wondered why the GMA had threatened to withdraw its services when negotiations for their service of conditions were ongoing.

“We have not been served with any communiqué. We also heard it from the media. I was taken aback because we have been in this conversation for the past four months. In July thereabout, we started engaging them and it has been ongoing. At the last engagement, there were only three outstanding issues. In fact, one is a non-issue because they requested a certain allowance to be paid. The government decided to pay, albeit reluctantly. But when we came round the next time to continue with negotiations, they had accepted that offer but insisted on a certain mode of payment. That is what we could not immediately agree to because we needed to clear it with our principal. And so we were hoping to meet with them to conclude and then the bombshell came that they had issued an ultimatum to the government.”

The Ghana Medical Association in July 2015 embarked on a 3-week strike over the absence of a codified condition of service.

They were demanding a signed document detailing a number of entitlements to be given to them as part of their conditions of service.

Part of their demands included 40% of basic salaries as accommodation allowance per month, 20 percent as core duty facilitation allowance, 30% clothing allowance, 20% maintenance allowance, 20% utility allowance, 50% as professional allowance and 25% special risk allowance and vehicle tax exemption to doctors.

They called off the strike to return to the negotiation table after several appeals from many Ghanaians including members of the clergy.

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Eddie Young

Managing Editor, My News Ghana.

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