Court joins FWSC to NLC, GMA suit

The Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court has joined the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to the suit between the National Labour Commission (NLC) and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) over the latter’s strike.

The joinder followed the stance taken by the FWSC in seeking a solution to the impasse.

The trial judge, Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, directed that the FWSC be served with all the processes so far in the case.

The court’s action stemmed from the fact that the FWSC was not ready to participate in meetings intended to resolve the impasse because it was not a party to the suit.

The court was not happy with that stance taken by the FWSC.

It said the case should take its normal course, so that after the necessary processes had been served on the FWSC, a hearing notice would be served on the parties for the case to commence.

At the court’s last sitting, a request by the Attorney-General’s Department to have the FWSC joined was refused by the court because, according to the court, allowing that would protract the case.

It rather advised the A-G’s Department and the FWSC to be on the negotiation table with the GMA to resolve the impasse.

It, however, emerged at the court’s sitting yesterday that the FWSC was dragging its feet by not attending meetings scheduled to find a solution to the impasse.

It also emerged that the NLC had filed a supplementary affidavit in which it talked about the failed attempt to get the FWSC to the negotiation table.

The court warned that should the FWSC not comply with its order of joinder, it would be cited for contempt.

At an earlier sitting, the court had issued a week’s ultimatum to the NLC, the GMA and the FWSC to agree on a payment schedule on the conversion difference for doctors, but the parties could not reach an agreement as directed.

That compelled the court to adjourn the case to yesterday and directed the parties to resolve their differences by that date.

It would be recalled that at an emergency National Executive Council meeting on April 14, 2013, the GMA decided on the withdrawal of out-patient care from April 15, 2013 and the full withdrawal of out-patient, in-patient and emergency services from April 22, 2013.

The council said that action was necessitated by the government’s unwillingness to resolve doctors’ grievances on market premium, reduced pensions and conversion differences which had accrued during their migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).

The association escalated its action when it asked its members to withdraw all out-patient, in-patient and emergency services from April 22, 2013.