The leadership of the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) has said it is ready to face National Labour Commission (NLC) in court over its industrial action.
The National Labour Commission has since described the strike as illegal, but the striking pharmacists have vowed to go ahead with the action.
Addressing a news conference in Accra on Tuesday, September 13, National President of GHOSPA, Agyemang Badu, said the association is amazed at the conduct of the NLC on the matter.
“Since we declared this strike, the National Labour Commission has rushed to court to sue GHOSPA. We are very surprised at their conduct and impressed with the haste with which they have rushed to court. They have issued express directives on our grievances that the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission has openly flouted over the last two years, yet NLC has deemed it necessary to activate the legal process of enforcing their order.
“Be as it may, we want to assure the NLC that GHOSPA is ready and determined to meet them in court. NLC has issued a directive that we appear before them tomorrow, Wednesday, 14 September. We will appear to the extent that the issues are on the stalled conditions of service negotiations. We do not believe that there is anything more on our salaries for the NLC to adjudicate after six years. Let us add that the duration of cases before the NLC is a big threat to industrial harmony. Matters concerning essential services like GHOSPA are supposed to be addressed in three working days [but] this issue has been before the Commission for six years,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu has said meeting the demands of striking pharmacists is almost impossible.
According to him, the government did not make provisions for market premiums for agitating pharmacists in the 2016 budget.
“There is little that can be done because it was not budgeted for in the 2016 budget, therefore, government is unable to accede to their request,” he said.
The Labour Minister believes the strike will only discomfort patients and has, therefore, urged the pharmacists to rescind their decision.