There appears to be no end in sight to the labour unrest that has rocked Ghana’s health sector as some nurses and midwives plan to embark on a sit-down strike to protest government’s refusal to pay them their salaries.
Today has gathered that the over 5,500 health workers called, “Coalition of Unpaid Nurses” are planning to storm the Flagstaff House to present a petition to the President over their unpaid salaries for several months despite services rendered to patients.
Whiles the country is in dilemma following the strike by doctors at the public hospitals, nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital are also on a sit-down strike with government pharmacists due to follow suit probably next week.
And with the health of the country in danger, Ghanaians woke up yesterday morning to the news of other strike in the pipeline.
Information from reliable sources told this paper that some of the nurses for three to two years running have not received even a pesewa since they were employed several months ago.
Sad as it may sound, few of them had been paid for only three months since they joined the labour front years ago and that is even a happy story compared to their compatriots in the same profession.
The situation, according to sources, has pushed them to the brinks of survival relying on loans from financial service providers alongside borrowing money from relatives and closed allies as well as handouts.
But with the country at heart, the nurses continued to sacrifice without pay.
Confirming the story to this reporter, Public Relations Officer for the Coalition of Unpaid Nurses, Jefferson Asare Danquah, described their situation as “unfair.”
According to him, “the Ministry of Health, last year, promised to provide an immediate solution by 16th December, 2014 which it could not keep to that promise.
Aside from the numerous petitions written to appropriate quarters for redress, it seemed they have all fallen on death ears and not even a demonstration to prompt government for the right thing to be done could change a thing,” he indicated.
He explained that although the Labour and Employment Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, engaged them in talks, there was not any fruitful outcome.
Jefferson intimated that they now find themselves in crisis as it has become too unbearable to contain the high standard of living in the country.
He disclosed a bitter experience, “where an unpaid nurse was dragged to court for failing to settle a loan he owed a financial service company and not being able to pay after the expiry date.
Stressing further, the PR warned that with regard to the many unfulfilled promises by their employer, coupled with the hardships, they will not recant their decision until their demands are met.
Speaking on the intended action to storm the Flagstaff House, Jefferson Asare said that that has become necessary because they feel they have to carry their own plight to President John Dramani Mahama as they are of the belief that “the closer the better.”
He expressed pity in the situation where no official has had any salary in debt before but same cannot be said about the nurses.
He wondered if there is any government appointee or Presidential staffer in the country who has gone through such a painful ordeal to acquire his remuneration due him.
Something more disheartening to them, he disclosed, is when government spokespersons spin on the media just to paint a different picture to the public to redeem government’s image.
He urged government to salvage the situation now before it gets out of hands where innocent souls will have to be affected by their action(s) as a result of someone’s negligence and recklessness.
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