Lawyers numbering about 150 who work at Ghana’s Attorney General’s Department have called off their one month strike to submit to compulsory arbitration by the Labour Commission.

NEW LAWYERS! Mohammed Muniru Kassim (right) with Michael Karikari-Yeboah
NEW LAWYERS! Mohammed Muniru Kassim (right) with Michael Karikari-Yeboah

The lawyers embarked on the action on July 6, to protest their poor conditions of service.

The lawyers said they were tired of the disappointment and contempt shown them by the Finance Ministry.

The National Labour Commission declared the action as illegal, and the state attorneys were thus compelled to submit to a compulsory arbitration which began yesterday.

At a press conference yesterday, the state attorneys said the arbiter had been given 14 days to address their concerns.

After resuming work yesterday, they indicated that they would make their next line of action known if their concerns were not addressed within the 14-day grace period.

Meanwhile, members of the Ghana Medical Association remain defiant in their resolve not to resume out-patient services after they embarked on partial strike, as part of what they say is an action plan to resign en masse from the Ghana Health Service.

The aggrieved doctors, who are fighting for their conditions of service, have defied government?s call on them to suspend their strike for negotiations to continue.

A labour analyst, Austin Gamey, yesterday charged government to drag the striking doctors to the National Labour Commission once several attempts to make them return to work had failed.

Mr Gamey believes reporting the doctors to the NLC is the only way to resolve the current impasse.

?I don?t know what is wrong with the employer. The employer should have gone to the National Labour Commission and report the conduct of the GMA as a union, saying we are going to begin negotiation, already they are holding my head that if I don?t agree to negotiate and complete the negotiation on their terms then we will declare a strike which they have now started and, therefore, the way they are going about it is out of place,? he said in a radio interview.

In related development, the Government has declared the action by the doctors illegal.

A statement signed by Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister For Employment & Labour Relations and reiterated the Government?s commitment to the creation of a conducive working environment for all public sector workers.

The statement indicated, however, that in view of the need to maintain equity and fairness in public sector remuneration, especially in order not to jeopardize the recently implemented Single Spine Pay Policy, it had become necessary for Government to seek the advice of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission on the demands put forward by the medical doctors.

It noted that the demands contained in the conditions of service proposed by the doctors had never existed in the past, and indicated the critical need for Government to conduct a financial analysis of the impact of any such conditions of service on Government expenditure in order not to adversely affect the annual budget approved by Parliament.

?Any negotiations of such allowances must therefore be under the ambit and in line with the work of the Public Service Joint Negotiating Committee (PSJNC),? the statement emphasized, and noted that already the PSJNC was involved in a universal discussion of Category 2 & 3 allowances.

?Government is of the view that while these processes are on-going, it is unfair and against the rules of labour practice for the GMA to declare a partial strike by withdrawing all outpatient services?, it stated, adding that the doctors? action amounted to coercion and an attempt to compel Government to negotiate under duress.

Nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital have also called off their day-old strike.

This follows a meeting with officials of Ministry of Health as well as the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations Haruna Iddrisu on Tuesday.

Over 190 nurses yesterday embarked on a sit-down strike in protest over their unpaid salaries.

But Employment Minister today assured the nurses that their grievances would be resolved by the end of September.

?At least by the end of September next month all outstanding issues would have been cleared?the Controller and Accountant General is ready to start inputting and computing, finalizing your names for salaries.

“I have even asked that special attention be given to psychiatric nurses because we are going to do it for 6000 nurses. That is being done. Indeed as I am speaking to you the officer at the Auditor General?s office together with the Health Ministry HR (human resource) are meeting.?

Spokesperson for striking nurses, Christian Adisenu confirmed to Joy News that their decision to end their action was informed by assurances by the Employment Minister.

?We still consider our patients that we care for,? he explained, noting that the time given them was reasonable having visited the Health Ministry to abreast themselves with progress made so far on their salaries. with additional files from and?

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