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Cold War @ 37 Hospital   
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The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) is no doubt one of the most disciplined state institutions in Ghana, but its decision to withhold the payment of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) to staff of the 37 Military Hospital in Accra, has driven both military and civilian employees of the health facility crackers.

The workers are fuming with rage because of reports that their counterparts at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital have been paid the new salary, with the promise to pay the back pay within the next couple of months.

Some of the hospital staff, who spoke to The Chronicle on condition of anonymity, said they were angry with the Military High Command, because this was not the first time they had meted out such unfair treatment against them.

The workers alleged that as a result of the extra work they had to carry during the period members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) went on a nationwide strike, President Mills allegedly gave some money to them to cater for the inconveniences they went through.

They, however, regretted that whilst the police administration paid staff of the Police Hospital the said money, they did not get anything.

The workers further claimed that anytime there was a slight adjustment in their salaries, the military managers would not pay the money to them immediately, but spread it over a long period of time, without offering any tangible reason for their decision.

According to them, information they were receiving was that such back pays were used to buy treasury bills, hence the usual spreading of the payments.

The Chronicle could not independently confirm this allegation, but the workers insisted that the practice was going on. They could also not protest to the management for fear of victimisation. The aggrieved staff members alleged that the name, staff and ward numbers of a staff who challenges the administration is taken, and later used to victimise him or her.

As a result of this, all staff members, both military and civilians, are afraid to question the leaders about the way they are being treated. They noted that the Christmas holidays are just around the corner, therefore, to deny them their legitimate SSSS pay was unfair.

“My brother, the morale of the workers is down, so they are not working as they should have done. Can you imagine that a nurse would deliberately delay whenever a doctor sends him or her to collect drugs from the store to administer to a patient? Sometimes, some of these nurses come back to tell stories. The patient is innocent, but he is bearing the brunt of the action of management against staff,” one of the workers told The Chronicle.”

When this reporter contacted the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col. Mbawine Atintande, for the management’s side of the story, he said he was not aware that the SSSS had been released.

He noted that if it was true that the money had been released by the government, as the workers are alleging, it would have to go through a process before the payment is effected.

He pleaded with the staff to seek answers to issues bothering their minds from the commander, instead of rushing to the press.

According to him, he was always available, and that if the workers were afraid to approach their managers, they could come to his office with whatever grievances they may have.

Atintande, however, denied outright the claim by the workers that their back pays were used to buy treasury bills. He noted that this could never happen, and asked the workers to do away with those negative thoughts.

The introduction of the SSSS has been hit with problems, resulting in strikes embarked upon by some of the government sector workers. Medical doctors recently embarked on a long strike in protest against the way they had been graded by the Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC).

Their action only ended after they went to a compulsory arbitration with the National Labour Commission.Teachers and staff of the Ghana Prisons Service have all embarked on strike or demonstrations to protest against the way they had been graded.

But, the FWSC insists it was following laid down procedures, and that no worker had been cheated as was being bandied around.
Source: Emmanuel Akli/The Chronicle

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