Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon. Baba Jamal has paid glowing tribute to the current administration saying the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) stands head over shoulders above previous governments; including that of the country's first president, Osagyefuo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, when it comes to meeting the demands of public health workers.
According to him, President Mahama’s regard for the general well-being of personnel in the health sector, especially doctors is unprecedented. Why? Because under his (Mahama's) watch, the framework for negotiation with all public health workers was signed within two years; a feat past administrations failed to do.
Speaking on Okay Fm’s Ade Akye Abia Morning Show, the deputy Employment and Labour Relations Minister acknowledged that though striking doctors have every right to demand for codified conditions of service, doctors have always worked under certain conditions of service.
"....it is due to the prevailing conditions of service that doctors are paid salaries, given cars and provided with accommodation including other allowances," he indicated.
Baba Jamal, who is also the NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Akwatia, disclosed that the first phase of the negotiation process with public health workers’ on their conditions of service, has been completed, except that government, is yet to finalize the doctors’ portion in the signed framework; chiefly because of the strike action by the Ghana Medical Authority (GMA).
He dismissed suggestions that government is dragging its feet at the negotiation table stressing that what stalled the process was the rather numerous packages and incentives put forward by the doctors; adding "this has made it difficult for government to agree to their (doctor's) terms, since the doctors have now significantly raised their demands far from what was captured in the earlier framework."
“Everybody is asking why since Kwame Nkrumah’s era to date no government has been able to sign anything like that but then within a matter of one and half years we have been able to sign the framework; it left with just a fraction to seal the deal? This is because the President came out clearly to resolve that problem….President Mahama’s concern for doctors is unprecedented”, he stated.
He wondered why the doctors are still on strike pointing out that government is ever ready to discuss issues with them (doctors) at the negotiation table.
"...the only challenges now being encountered is the fact that the doctors are making new demands in their pursuit for a codified document covering their conditions of service...this is what led to their illegal strike action," Baba Jamal said.
Commenting on the threat to deny striking workers their August salaries, Hon. Baba Jamal averred that government is acting in accordance with the law but gave the assurance that the implementation of that directive will be after the outcome of the doctors’ meeting in Accra on Friday August 14, 2015.
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