Members of the Ghana Medical Association have resolved to embark on an industrial action if some imbalances in their salaries (conversion difference) are not resolved by March 3, 2014.

The ultimatum has been necessitated by what the GMA says is the failure of the National Labour Commission (NLC) to compel the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to pay members their conversion difference nine months after the latter ruled on the issue.

The FWSC defines conversion difference as part of the Single Spine Pay Policy paid to a job holder when upon migration, it is found that his/her previous basic salary is more than what he/she is to take on the Single Spine basic salary. The jobholder is given conversion difference in order that he/she is not made worse off upon migration.

According to the Labour Act, doctors like other essential service providers are barred from embarking on industrial action. The law however states that their grievances should be resolved within two weeks after they have been expressed but this has not happened, necessitating the ultimatum to government.

General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Frank Serebour told Joy FM’s Top Story Wednesday that the two institutions have “connived and colluded to rob” doctors.

He indicated that although members never wanted the issue to travel this far, they have been frustrated by the NLC’s lackadaisical attitude in solving their concerns, adding that the GMA has therefore “come to the end of the line.” 

At this point, Dr. Serebuor stated clearly that since the other parties have not respected the laws of the country, “the bottom line is that we should all not follow the law”.

He said the NLC and FWSC’s approach to the issue suggests that doctors are “slaves” working in their own country. “Our work is service and not servitude,” he pointed out.

A statement signed for the GMA President Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei maintained “The GMA is highly disappointed at the conduct of both the NLC and FWSC that led to the striking out of the NLC’s motion on the subject for want of prosecution by an Accra High Court on January 31, 2014.”

“The GMS believes this conduct by both NLC and FWSC is a calculated attempt to frustrate and deny its members their rights by the two state institutions under the pretext of working through the courts.”

Various stakeholders including President John Mahama were copied. The president was copied in order not to “leave him in the dark” on issues relating to the GMA, probably the NLC and FWSC may listen to him, Dr. Serebuor explained.

Executive Coordinator at the Labour Rights Institute, Mr. Mohammed Afum advised the GMA to file a writ of mandamus to compel the NLC go by the ruling.

For the issue to remain unsolved for nine months instead of two weeks is worrying, Mr. Afum who previously worked with the NLC noted.

He told Top Story the posture of the NLC feeds into the perception that when it comes to dealing with government as the employer, the NLC doesn’t want to do its work.