The Herald, can confirm rage of anger currently brewing among members of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) and its allied associations against the Akufo-Addo government, over apparent arrogant posture in handling the on-going negotiation of conditions of service for the health workers.
According to the group, the posture of the government as an Employer is in "bad faith"and a clear indication that the government does not value the work of health workers in saving lives, as their contribution to the health system in the country.
In a letter, dated September 9, 2020 and signed by the President of the association,Mrs. Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo said, "The Leadership of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) and its allied Associations are appalled at the posture of the government team in the on-going conditions of service negotiation for nurses and midwives in Ghana."
Explaining, the Association said the negotiation started somewhere in July 2019, with the signing of the rules of engagement with the government, but was stalled in February 2020, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, "Following two meetings held in June, 2020, it took the government team almost three months to come back to the negotiation table with the excuse that they were seeking mandate from the ministry of finance on our proposals."
"In spite of this long delay, they [government negotiation team] could not table even one counter proposal that supported the proposals we had tabled. This is bad faith, and in our interpretation, a clear indication that the Employer does not value what we do in terms of our contribution to the health system of Ghana," the Association bemoaned.
According to them, at its recent meeting held on September 3, 2020, the leadership of the angry of the Association, publicly registered its displeasure about the manner the negotiation is being handled, and gave the government a two-week ultimatum to come back to the negotiation table with something better.
Interestingly, the deadline for their ultimatum, will expire on Thursday, September 17.
"We are by this letter notifying your good offices as our Employers and stakeholders that if by 17th September, 2020, we do not get any favorable response from the government team, we will take every legitimate steps to protect our economic interests," the letter stated.
This letter, was widely distributed to relevant authorities in government, including the Chief of Staff, Jubilee House, the Minister of Health, Minister of Finance, Chief Director, Ministry of Health, CEO, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and Director General of Ghana Health Service.
It said that, "We know that procedurally, some of you have been adequately briefed on the outcome of the meeting held on 3rd September, 2020 but we deem it important to notify you appropriately and that is why we are writing this letter to you."
"As you are already aware, the Collective Agreement signed in 2016 was not implemented and nurses and midwives generally did not have any benefits from that Collective Agreement. Four years on, we cannot and will not continue to have nurses and midwives wallow in the current poor conditions of service," the letter concluded.
It is unclear, if the government will promptlyreturn to the negotiation table before the deadline, with a good offer to avoid the wrath of the health workers.