Minister urges teachers, doctors to maintain industrial peace.
The Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu has made a passionate appeal to the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) not to embark on their planned industrial actions.
UTAG and POTAG have served notice of a strike if their book and research allowances are not paid.
Members of the GMA have all threatened to resign if issues concerning their conversion difference and conditions of service are not addressed.
Speaking at the two-day forum on the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), the Minister revealed that he had received text messages from the presidents of POTAG and UTAG, reminding him of the payment of the book and research allowances.
He in turn reminded them that the book and research allowances has been scrapped and replaced with the book and research fund; a development they are both aware of.
“I reminded them that it was a collective decision to support government policy decision to replace that with the book and research fund,” he said.
Lecturers at public tertiary institutions since last year have been battling government not to scrap the research and book allowance.
They withdrew their services for a number of weeks over the issue, but the government refused to maintain the research and book allowance.
Mr. Iddrisu, therefore, recommended that the teacher unions should work together with government to help find a lasting solution to the problem.
He further urged them to “maintain the industrial peace and harmony on our campuses.”
Regarding the conversion difference and conditions of service for the members of the GMA, the Employment Minister indicated that he is fully aware of the threat by doctors in the country to resign by June 30, 2015.
The doctors want government to issue a collective bargaining agreement with them over their conditions of service.
According to the GMA, since the Ghana Health Service (GHS) was established in 1996, no conditions of service have been given to doctors although concerns have been raised several times.
They are thus determined to get the problem fixed to enable them get what is due them.
But the Minister nonetheless asked them to be “cautious not to declare an industrial action in undermining the peace that exists in the country.”
“On matters of market premium, computation of pensions which affect health workers and conclusion of processes leading to the adoption of conditions of service for health workers, the union should be assured that work is in progress.”