President John Dramani Mahama has reiterated the illegality of the doctor’s strike indicating that their strike is against laid down procedures in the labour laws of the country.
According to the President, “the labour law states that nobody must negotiate under duress.
“Even before negotiations begun they declared a strike. Nobody must die as a result of an illegal strike. The doctor’s strike is illegal. Government is not being adamant. The doctors must go back to work while negotiations continue in good faith” he stated.
The president’s comments come in the wake of a two-week old strike believed to have caused lives as patients are turned away at public health facilities.
The doctors are demanding documented and improved conditions of service, but government is yet to reach a deal on their proposals.
Speaking on state-run Uniiq Fm as Ghana joins the world to mark International Youth Day, President Mahama added his voice to the many calls on the doctors to return to the hospitals while negotiations continue.
Government and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), seem to have taken entrenched positions, blaming each other for not playing fairly to the rules of negotiation.
The doctors have threatened to resign en-mass by Friday August 14, 2015, if a decision is not reached regarding their conditions of service.
According to President Mahama, it is against negotiation practice globally to negotiate under duress.
President John Mahama had indicated earlier, that government would not approve any expenditure not captured in the budget, a position the GMA has condemned stating that their demands will only be catered for by the 2016 budget.
Meanwhile government has also threatened not to pay salaries to any group of public sector workers for the period they stay out of work, as stated in the labor law.
The Ghana Medical Association has confirmed receiving counter-proposals from government over members’ demands for a proper collective bargaining agreement. Deputy General Secretary of GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson, said last Sunday’s meeting was very brief.
“We went into the meeting, government brought a document to us as their final position. We took it and thanked them and left.”
Dr Yankson added: “We also need to look at what is in that final proposition.”
But he hinted that their expectation of government, their employer, is to get them a “negotiated” and “signed” collective bargaining agreement.
“That is all we are asking the employer to do,” he stressed.
Health Minister, Alex Segbefia has also advised politicians to stay away from commenting on the issues, asking them to refer to the appropriate bodies mandated to deal with such issues.