Thursday, 18 April

We also have veins and blood; we go to the same market – Lab professionals threaten strike over condition of service

Health News
According to the MELPWU, despite submitting its Conditions of Salaries to the FWSC in January 2023, the latter is yet to begin negotiations with the union

The Medical Laboratory Professional Workers Union (MELPWU) has served notice it will strike over the refusal of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to attend to issues pertaining to their Conditions of Service.  

According to the MELPWU, despite submitting its Conditions of Salaries to the FWSC in January 2023, the latter is yet to begin negotiations with the union.   

Deputy General Secretary of the union, Prosper Senyo Sokpe, and Member of the Medical Laboratory Workers Union, Dr Franklin Amartey Armah, disclosed this on CTV’s Dwa Br3 Mu.

Dr Armah noted that: “We submitted our Conditions of Service to the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, that within two weeks of submitting this proposal, they should have a meeting with us so we get feedback on our Conditions of Service.

“Why didn’t they mind us?

“We sent it in January, as we speak now, we’re now in May. It’s like our people who are working unhappily, they are desperate and they are frustrated and they are agitating at the base and leadership is having a hard time containing them. Fair Wages and Salary has not been fair to us per the law,” he bemoaned.

Dr Armah insisted the union has been proactive by reminding the FWSC about its submissions on why they have not been able to begin negotiations with the MELPWU.

“Let me put on record that Fair Wages and Salaries Commission are the custodians of the law that we’re working with and so they should even be teaching us the law – they’re aware of the law. However, we’re those seeking better conditions so we cannot also sit back as leaders,” he said.

“So we have been proactive, several reminders have been written to them in fact I have had the privilege of being part of the team that visited the office the other day to engage about this same thing,” he indicated.

He added that the FWSC “couldn’t give us any tangible reasons why they have not called us. They asked us to be forward looking as things will change but I think it has been a month already.”

The Deputy General Secretary of the union also stressed the effect of the FWSC’s feet-dragging on its members. 

“Our members are pressurising us,” he cried.

He noted that sometimes when “you write to them, they won’t even reply so you have to follow up and find out what the issues are but we keep going back and forth.”

Mr Sokpe explaining why the union is pushing for better Conditions of Service for its members stressed: “Like our leave period, when you are ill, as of now, you have to pay your own fees despite working at the hospital. There are new professionals who need to be employed that’s also outstanding, when you do overtime or you are home and get called back to work, there’s no allowance covering accommodation, fuel among others, because we have to cater for all that ourselves from our salaries.”

Dr Armah indicated that the FWSC had acknowledged receipt of the union’s capacity “to have negotiations,” adding: “Ideally we’re not supposed to go on strike but what you must understand is that the laboratory professional that is me is also veins and blood and body and flesh and subject to the emotions of ordinary human beings and Ghanaians. We all go to the same market, we have the same wives.”