The Psychiatric Nurses have called off its four-day old strike.
The aggrieved public sector nurses embarked on an indefinite strike on Monday protesting government’s failure to settle their salary arrears for close to two years.
The nurses called the bluff of government following threats that they risk losing their October salaries.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Registered Nurses Association has commended the junior nurses over their decision. However, it has condemned authorities for their poor handling of the issue.
In a press statement, the association said: “We desire that we providers of essential services must at all times receive due respect and recognition by our paymasters, and our sacrifices must come with a reward without assigning us the posture of dignity better than other public sector workers because we believe that it is the services we provide that are essential and not necessarily we ourselves.
Below is the full statement:
It is of great importance that we engage your attention at this point in time to communicate the feelings of unpleasant experiences encountered by the Ghana Registered Nurses’ Association (GRNA) as we manage crises situations associated with the discharge of the professional mandate of Nurses and Midwives of our fraternity.
As you have been witnessing for the past few days less than a week, the leadership of the Ghana Registered Nurses Association has responded to many calls of well-meaning Ghanaians and the media over the strike action of junior Nurses and Midwives who have become casualties of circumstances associated with poor management of salary administration within the health sector. These are:
Newly Qualified Nurses and Midwives who have been working for several months (6-14) without salaryPsychiatric Nurses who have been denied of several months of salary arrears ranging from six to eleven monthsPracticing Nurses and Midwives whose salary arrears on promotion have been withheldNewly-qualified Nurses and Midwives who have no hope of getting employed in a health system heavily deprived of such critical caliber of professionals whilst many health facilities suffer from serious understaffing challenges that are counter-productive to quality Nursing and Midwifery care and patient safety concern.
We note that out of the many challenges confronting the Association, but to mention only these few, due processes were followed by the members concerned in collaboration with the GRNA leadership to seek due justice to no avail.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the situation that culminated into the strike action, and we put on record, that though it was not a nation-wide strike action called by the mother union of which these Nurses and Midwives belong, the GRNA rallied support for them for the just cause being pursued. This support was to expose and debunk the offensive duplicity associated with the manner in which affairs of health professionals whose job in the world of work is cunningly and deceitfully classified as essential services.
We desire that we providers of essential services must at all times receive due respect and recognition by our paymasters, and our sacrifices must come with a reward without assigning us the posture of dignity better than other public sector workers because we believe that it is the services we provide that are essential and not necessarily we ourselves.
We take this opportunity to condemn in no uncertain terms, the disregard and ill treatment shown our junior Nurses and Midwives and state that they have been given a raw deal as the paymaster has been insensitive to their plight for withholding their salaries for periods ranging from six to eleven months. If this is not illegal, how can a strike action be, following a frown on the ruling in their favour by the National Labour Commission that their deferred salary arrears must be paid?
The leadership of the Ghana Registered Nurses’ Association at this press briefing futher announces that our intervention in the current crises has yielded some fruitful results with the release of funds to pay the deferred salary arrears of the Psychiatric Nurses and salary arrears on promotion for some officers. Besides, we are attesting to the hope of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, paying the withheld salaries of the over seven thousand other Nurses and Midwives identified as Coalition of Unpaid Nurses and Midwives who are jointly on strike with the Psychiatric Nurses at the end of October 2015.
The mother Association takes cognizance of the fact that continuation of the strike action so embarked upon by the said Nurses and Midwives for five days running has negatively begun to affect health service delivery significantly at the mental health facilities in the country and in places where the other Nurses and Midwives are offering services. This impact, likely to compound the negative effect of the current average Nurse/Patient ratio of 1:22 if close to eight thousand (8,000) Nurses and Midwives continue to withdraw their services has to be addressed without delay.
In this regard, and in consideration of the fact that funds have been released to pay the Psychiatric Nurses, and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department working assiduously to pay the Coalition of Unpaid Nurses and Midwives their withheld salaries in October, the leadership of the GRNA announces the positive response to the appeal made to the striking Nurses and Midwives to SUSPEND the strike action and return to work immediately. This is however to be considered as a retreat in a purposeful strike action and not an end to all issues.
The Association will fully support a full scale resumption of the action if disparities in the payment of the deferred and withheld salaries of our affected members are not addressed with the required attention. We also call on the employer to attend to all outstanding issues of salary withholding and unemployment among Nurses and Midwives without delay to boost the confidence of practitioners and also improve the current unacceptable Nurse/Patient ratio situation. Meanwhile, the noted disparities have been lodged as complaints at the appropriate quarters within the salary administration and management process for redress.
Permit me to render appreciation to the striking Nurses and Midwives for their tolerance as they endured the undesirable pain and anxiety of such ill treatment and also for showing respect for the leadership of their mother association.
Gratitude also goes to the Ministries of Employment and Labour Relations, Finance, Health and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department for their support in meeting the needs of the striking Nurses and Midwives so far.
We thank you also the members of the Press for your great demonstration of professional excellence in communication.
LONG LIVE GRNA!
LONG LIVE GHANA!