President John Dramani Mahama has insisted that the decision by aggrieved doctors to strike is “illegal” and “does not make sense.”
According to him, the strike must be called off because “we’re paying doctors their salaries and allowances as negotiated on single spine, but instead conditions of service.”
“The labour law states that nobody must negotiate under duress. Even before negotiations begun they declared a strike. Nobody must die as a result of an illegal strike. The doctors strike is illegal… The doctors must go back to work while negotiations continue in good faith,” he added.
The President made the comment today to commemorate the World Youth Day in an interview on Uniiq FM on Wednesday.
Members of the GMA have insisted that they will not return to work unless government provides them with conditions of service.
Meanwhile, the salaries of striking doctors are likely to be frozen by government.
A statement from the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations reminded the doctors and all other striking public sectors workers that under the provisions of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), a worker on strike, “may forfeit his/her remuneration in respect of the period during which he/she is engaged in the illegal strike.”
On the freeze on employment, President Mahama explained that the move was to reduce pressure on government’s wage bill.
He said the wage bill continues to take a toll on government revenue adding that, “we want to bring the wages and compensation bill down. In 2013, wages took 73% of total tax revenue.”
In 2010, the government placed a ban on the recruitment of employees in the public sector to reduce the increasing wage bill.
Some Ghanaian workers had complained that the embargo over the years has increased the rate of unemployment in the country.
But Mahama said government has been able to reduce the wage bill from 73% to 49% of tax revenues, adding that such monies are being channeled into development.