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Medical laboratory professionals declare strike over emoluments


By Godfred Amoaful

The Leadership of the Medical Laboratory Professional Workers Union, MELPWU, has served a notice to embark on a nationwide strike over their lack of better conditions of service effective 17th June 2024.

The notice signed by the General Secretary of MELPWU, Dr. Cephas Kofi Akortor indicated that all laboratory services in public hospitals across the country will hold back services.

The notice says the strike follows inconclusive negotiations with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.

Dr. Cephas Kofi Akortor in an interview with GBC noted that the government has failed to respond to the union on time.

He said the negotiations for better condition of service and financial clearance for non-mechanized members have been on the table for the past two years.

Mr. Akortor however said, they can no longer bear the foot dragging of the employer, hence the intention to strike.

He stated that the government has settled two out of the 13 items the union presented to it during their last meeting. He said the union is ready to push some of their demands further for redress but for some critical items, they demand the government to respond to them as soon as possible.

He noted that the union is not happy about the strike since lives are on the line but has no other option than to do so.

“We have not taken an entrenched decision. The union is ever ready to continue to negotiate with the government to find solutions to our demands. We feel sorry to put Ghanaians into distress, but we also indulge each and every one to bear with us because our condition of service is also important”, he said

MELPWU’s full statement;

“Medical laboratory professionals declare a nationwide strike
The leadership of the Medical Laboratory Professional Workers’ Union (MELPWU) has declared a nationwide strike over their lack of Conditions of Service.

The strike, which takes effect from 17th June 2024, is to press home their demands for the conclusion of negotiations for Conditions of Service for medical laboratory professionals.
As a result, laboratory services in public hospitals across the country would not be available from 17th June a situation which will adversely affect health care delivery.

The notice for the strike, dated June 3rd, 2024, has been served to the National Labour Commission (NLC), Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Ministries of Employment & Labour Relations, Health and Finance, and all relevant agencies.

The declaration of the strike follows inconclusive negotiations with the FWSC last Friday, which the union described as disappointing. The delayed negotiations has dragged for nearly two years.

The notice, signed by Dr Cephas Kofi Akortor, General Secretary of MELPWU, cited “undue delay in concluding negotiations with the union,” and lack of financial clearance for non-mechanised members” as the reasons for the strike.

Justifying the action, the notice said “without prejudice to the directives given by the National Labour Commission on 30th May 2024, we recognise that the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, and the Ministry of Finance are deliberately frustrating the efforts of a rather peaceful union that is ensuring that Labour-Management relationship does not suffer.”

“To prevent a rather explosive situation that cannot be easily managed by the union, the National Executive Council at an emergency meeting, approved the demands of membership to proceed on a full- blown industrial strike action effective Monday 17th June, 2024 to enable them to press home the needed attention and importance to be given to the concerns of the union.

“Thus, services provided by our members in all medical laboratories, blood banks, pathology laboratories, and selected mortuary facilities will be impacted,” the notice stated.

According to the union, the notice is in accordance with Section 159 of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651).

The executives of the union, which has been threatening to embark on strike in recent months due to stalled negotiations, at a press briefing after a negotiation meeting with the FWSC, described the outcome of that meeting as “disappointing,” and accused the FWSC and Ministry of Finance of not demonstrating good faith.

Membership of the union comprises Medical Laboratory Scientists, Medical Laboratory Technicians, and Medical Laboratory Assistants who provide laboratory diagnostic services in all clinical laboratories and blood banks under the Ministry of Health and allied agencies including the Ghana Health Service, National Blood Service, Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), Teaching Hospitals, Health Training Institutions, Ahmadiyya Health Services Ghana and University of Ghana Medical Centre, among others.

It also includes laboratory professionals who provide technical services in Pathology Laboratories and selected mortuary facilities in the country.

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