By Charles Sarpong Amponsah.
Mortuary workers in Ghana say they will lay down their tools if the government fails to rectify issues with their allowances and improve their working conditions
According to them, they have been annihilated and denied a lot of their rights for a long time.
Speaking on GTV’s Breakfast Show, General Secretary of the Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG), Richard Kofi Jordan, said it was time mortuary workers embarked on strike should the government not respond quickly to their issues in the next two weeks.
“For all this while, until the coming in of the Association, you never heard of the mortuary workers but they were actually being annihilated. In fact, they were denied a lot of their rights, their rights were taken away from them all over the place. We want money. We have negotiated something. Last year November, we had an understanding with government endorsed by both parties. Three allowances were approved, two has been paid. It’s paid to only one group of the workers, another group has been denied. Meanwhile, the agreement is that all mortuary workers are supposed to be paid taking effect from January 2021. So that level is there on our neck.”
He demanded that Mortuary workers deserved to be paid Covid-19 incentive package for frontline workers which was announced by President Akufo-Addo.
“And then remember that when the President was announcing the coronavirus package, he talked about frontline. You cannot take away the morgue as not being frontline. In fact, we are supper frontline, and we didn’t get our frontline allowances. It was agreed that we do a reconciliation of the list because then the Ministry of Health has claimed that names have been presented and that they have paid but as I speak to you they have refused to do reconciliation for whatever they are hiding.”
“There is the issue of protection of the workers in terms of how they handle bodies at the morgues. PPEs have been denied all over. Even yesterday, a whole morgue called me that they have not been given anything to protect themselves. Now Coronavirus bodies are all mixed up in the morgue, and everybody is taking risk,” he lamented on Wednesday, October 20.
Mr. Jordan stated that MOWAG had exhausted all means to resolve their concerns and warned that it was time to take action.
“We have drafted a letter to be sent to various authorities who are charged with the responsibility of resolving the issue. We still have issues that are pending and government should respond quickly. We have taken all the avenues, we have gone through the process but before you even strike, the law allows you to give your employer and the National Labour Commission 7 working clear days telling them your intention.”
“In the next two weeks, anything is likely to happen. In fact, about the 700 mortuary workers and all the mortuaries would be closed. Let me be frank, we have never shown the true colour of mortuary workers in this country. What we have done is threat, now we will implement because that’s the decision we have taken that now we have to implement the real action, at least, for just about two, three, four weeks.”
He thanked all Mortuary workers for their contributions to mother Ghana and urged them to remain calm.