Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has expressed his optimism over the outcome of a scheduled negotiation meeting with striking nurses today, September 22.
The sector’s Deputy Minister says hopefully, a resolution will be attained by stakeholders and a consensus reached for nurses to return to their station.
Speaking in an interview, Dr. Okoe-Boye revealed that the efforts and services of Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) have been duly recognized by government and their needs will be prioritized.
“Like I said, we are very optimistic because when you put about nine items on the table and government directly goes for about seven of them, I think that is a significant step to show that as much as possible, we want to support all the groups that are involved. We must also be frank to ourselves as a country that, it must not be every request that government will hold.”
However, Senyo Adjabeng, a labour analyst, speaking from the legal perspective intimated that the leadership of the striking nurses can be held liable for casualties that occur at public health facilities during this period.
“Executives of the nurses could be held liable for any fallout that occurs during the strike. The labour law under the offences of persons requires that if any offences that are committed by a body like a union, the executives of the union are deemed to have committed the offence.”
He further urged the striking nurses to dialogue to find a lasting solution to the challenges.
“They have to quickly call off the strike, respond to the court order and injunction to call off the strike, go back to the negotiation table and use the lawful process of compulsory arbitration,” he advised.
On Monday, September 21, Nurses, midwives, Physician Assistants (PAs) and Anesthetists (CRAs) in the public sector withdrew their services in protest of improved conditions of service.
In the ensuing battle with government over unmet expectations, the Upper East Regional branch of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) urged managers of public healthcare facilities in the Region to direct their attacks to the employer and not its members.
“We are also picking signals that some managers are beginning to send intimidating messages to nurses and midwives in respect of the strike action. In this light, we urge all managers to direct their attacks to the employer and not our members”.
It described its decision to embark on the strike action as “painful,” but, “we collectively resolve to take this difficult decision at this trying moment in our chosen profession, but united we stand, divided we fall.”
The GRNMA made the call on Managers in a letter jointly signed by Mr. Thomas Lambon, the Upper East Regional Chairman of the Association and its Regional Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Panzin Tibil.
The strike left many patients stranded nationwide because of the absence of health personnel.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations wants the striking nurses and midwives to immediately call off the industrial action and avail themselves for negotiations to continue.
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