Ernest Badu-Boateng is GAMLS-KATH branch chairman

The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) has refuted claims that its strike action is illegal.

President of the Association, Dr Abu Abudu Rahamani in an interview on Joy FM NewsNight, Thursday May 27, stated that it resorted to the strike action because their grievances have remained unresolved in spite of using appropriate channels to register those concerns.

“We are not breaking the law. It is not illegal. We have done all we need to do. The authorities are aware, even the Labour Commission itself, a similar case, if not the same case is with them for the past two or three years.

“It is no more an illegality, it is just a question of the individuals involved realizing that you are not taking them seriously so they have to act,” he told Evans Mensah.

His comments follow a communique issued by the National Labour Commission (NLC) demanding laboratory scientists nationwide to call off their “illegal” strike action and return to their various places of work.

“The National Labour Commission hereby directs that, in pursuance of section 161 of the Labour Act 2008 (Act 651), the Union should call off the ongoing strike action and/or any further intended action for the parties to appear before the Commission as scheduled,” parts of the press statement read.

Several lab scientists nationwide have joined the Medical Laboratory Scientists at KATH to lay down their tools following Management’s failure to withdraw two clinical haematologislts posted at the Laboratory department.

According to the Commission, it has not been served any notice by the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists regarding the strike action.

In response to the NLC’s directive, Dr Abu Abudu Rahamani stated that the Labour Commission has been notified of the Association’s demand which has been the talk of town for the past few weeks.

“This issue erupted about 2 to 3 weeks ago, is the Labour Commission saying that for the past 2 to 3 weeks, they are not aware of what is happening? And are they saying that they did not hear our request calling on the Ministry to come in and solve the problem for us? They did not hear our single demand of asking two very brilliant officers to be moved to the Internal Medicine Directorate?

“They are aware. So if they are aware and for all this while, they’ve sat and watched us, thinking probably we may not be able to do anything, at this last hour when the thing has erupted, they are coming to tell us that we haven’t notified them. Then I don’t know what to say,” he explained.

He also denied being served a document calling for an immediate halt on the ongoing industrial action.

“We have not received any directive or documentation. We are only hearing it on air. We are professionals, we carry a lot of processes and so we follow procedures and so once you start with step one, we know where step two has to go. We are yet to get to step one.

Regarding the call to resume work, Dr Abudu Rahamani noted that the best initiative he can employ to ensure the strike is called off is to be given 16 days to tour all 16 regions and dialogue with his members to decide the way forward.

He explained that a strike action is not the desire of the Association but for the sake of quality services to be rendered to patients, it must take up this difficult initiative.

“We do not wish to go on strike. It is more to do with something that concerns our future and anything that concerns the future, the present matters,” he stated.

Since the commencement of the strike action, scores of patients have been left unattended with many having to rely on private health institutions. Many who cannot afford, have been left stranded with the fear of losing their lives.

This has resulted in Parliament intervening and entreating the health personnel to return to their various posts to prevent any loss of lives.

Chairman of Parliament’s Health Committee, Dr Nana Yaw Afriyie has advised the affected party to petition Parliament with its grievances for immediate resolution.