Government has pulled out of conditions of service negotiations with striking members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA).
According to government, it cannot negotiate with the doctors while they are on strike.
The GMA last month called the strike demanding that government puts in place conditions of service for its members. The two parties have since failed to reach common grounds after they failed to agree on proposals and counter proposals relating to the conditions of service.
Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu says until the striking doctors return to work, it will be difficult to negotiate with them. “Government will continue negotiations with the GMA only if they call off their strike action and come back to the negotiation table for us to dialogue further on putting closure to the whole subject of getting them a codified condition of service.
“But so long as they remain on strike, boycotting work whether partial or full and not resigning puts us in a difficulty in continuing negotiations”, he added.
Mr Iddrisu however indicated that issues relating to the Category 2 and 3 allowances are already being negotiated at the Public Services Joint Negotiating Committee.
But “specific to their conditions of service, government will want to engage them if they call of the strike action”, he reiterated.
In a response to the Minister, General Secretary of the GMA Dr Frank Serebour said they will only return to work after signing conditions of service document with government.
“The decision for us to go on strike was not taken by any individual; it was taken by the General Assembly. As we speak we don’t have any scheduled meeting so as and when it becomes necessary and we meet with our membership we will forward the fact that government says they are not going to negotiate unless we call off the strike.
“As we speak the General Assembly is saying that they will continue with the strike because there is a conditional clause attached to it and that is until we sign we sign a negotiated conditions of service we will strike".
"So if the government is not going to negotiate with us that means we will never have the conditions of service and that means that the strike will continue”, he said.
Meanwhile government will this week roll out an elaborate emergency plan to deal with the absence of the doctors from the country’s hospitals as part of several measures in response to the strike.
Haruna Iddrisu said the Health Minister will communicate an elaborate programme of government to deal with the situation.
Last week government issued a warning to all striking public sector workers to call off their strike or forfeit their salaries.
Government is yet to confirm if that action will be carried out as the GMA defied that notice.
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