The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on Thursday expressed its dissatisfaction about the unresolved post single spine migration issues and has, therefore, given the new government a two-week window period to resolve the issues.
“If after the given window period, which started a day after the swearing in, nothing is done, the GMA will put in motion series of actions that may disturb the industrial harmony in the health sector,” Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, President of GMA, told the Ghana News Agency in a telephone interview in Accra.
He said the window period was agreed on by members at the 54th Annual General Conference of the association in November, 2012.
Dr Opoku-Adusei said during the National Executive Council meeting, held in May 2012, the attention of the Government was drawn to the salary distortions in the payment of Market Premium and Conversion Difference.
He said the general GMA membership was distressed with payment of salary arrears following their migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) in December, 2011.
“But all our concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears even though our subsequent communiqués have also sought to urge government to urgently look at the disturbing trend of the haphazard implementation of the Single Spine,” he said.
Dr Opoku-Adusei said this had affected some doctors who now have reduced Social Security contributions, thus compromising their future pension benefits.
He explained that after persistent complaints lodged with various government institutions concerned with these matters, including the National Labour Commission (NLC) and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), the GMA and FWSC were invited by the NLC to a compulsory arbitration on the issues of Market Premium, Conversion Difference and SSNIT contributions in October last year.
“To this day, the constituted panel is yet to start proceedings on this matter though we are deemed to be an essential service provider.
“Meanwhile the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) has started deductions from members’ salaries ostensibly as repayment for Conversion Difference that we duly deserve in spite of a clear directive from the Minister of Finance to the CAGD to stay all payments or deductions till a final resolution of the issues,” he said.
The GMA has, therefore, reminded government of its core duty of seeing to the welfare of all Ghanaians including GMA members.
Dr Opoku-Adusei said the GMA is, therefore, resolved to engage the media and the public actively in sensitizing them on the various issues relating to the non resolution of the outstanding matters of the SSSS despite its submission to the NLC for Compulsory Arbitration almost a year now.
“The GMA wants to state that we are losing confidence in the NLC, since they appear to lack the capacity to resolve the issues relating to the Market Premium, Conversion Difference (Reduced Pensions Contributions) and other related post migration issues on the SSSS,” he said.
He said the GMA would continue to avail itself to work with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and all other relevant government agencies for speedy resolution of these problems.
Sharing the association’s expectations with the GNA, Dr Opoku Adusei said there was the need for government to train more doctors and nurses and put sustainable programmes in place to sustain and retain them locally.