General Secretary of the Health Services Workers Union (HSWU), Franklin Owusu Ansah, has expressed willingness of members of the union to negotiate with government to reach a consensus on their conditions of services.
According to him, following the decision of the union to strike over poor conditions of services, government has extended an invitation for the union to come to the negotiating table. The outcome of the meeting with government today, Mr Ansah noted, will determine whether the strike action will be called off or not.
Mr Ansah explained that the union will go to the meeting in “good faith negotiation”, one which is all about “win-win” for them.
“Negotiation is about give and take and we are ready to jaw-jaw at the table and reach a consensus. We are not going to hold anybody to ransom. In our statement yesterday, we said that we are not happy calling for this industrial action but we have been pushed to the wall. For that matter, anything that comes to the table that satisfies both parties, this industrial action will be called off. We have been called by a letter to continue the negotiation today and I want to believe we will be able to end the negotiation”.Mr Franklin Owusu Ansah
Recounting what led the union to take such drastic action, Mr Ansah narrated that the union in 2015 signed an agreement with government on implementing some conditions of service. Some aspects of the agreement were “monetary [and] others non-monetary”.
The agreement, he explained, was supposed to take effect from the year 2016 and 2017. However, after 2017, the union has tried as much as possible to facilitate the review of the document with little success.
Review of conditions of services
In the year 2019, the HSWU General Secretary disclosed that they started negotiating on the agreement again with government but they have not seen the “review up to today”.
Mr Ansah disclosed that there have been conclusive negotiations with other agreement within the health sector. Following this, he questioned why review and “implementation” on his members’ agreement has delayed.
“Among the four [collective] agreement in the system in the health sector, three have been reviewed, even one has been reviewed twice. The other two have been reviewed since last year and they are all in operation. Why is it that the Health Services Workers Union one cannot be reviewed and cannot be in operation? Is it that we are being discriminated against or what? All that we are saying is government should sit with us in good faith and we want to believe that we will reach a consensus”.Mr Franklin Owusu Ansah
The Health Services Workers embarked on a full industrial action on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. The leadership of the HSWU revealed that the blatant disregard for the plight of its over 40,000 members across the country has compelled them to take the decision to lay down their tools.
Ahead of the strike, the group advised the public to, from today, October 26, 2021, use private health facilities.