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Medical Lab Workers Declare Strike Over ‘Deliberate’ Snub

The notice, signed by the General Secretary of MELPWU, Dr Cephas Kofi Akortor, expressed disappointment at stakeholders, citing “undue delay in concluding negotiations with the union,” and lack of financial clearance for non-mechanised members” as the reasons for the strike.

The Medical Laboratory Professional Workers’ Union (MELPWU) has set June 17, 2024, to embark on a nationwide strike in protest of the long-standing absence of Conditions of Service for its membership.

The strike comes after a failed negotiation with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) on May 31, 2024.

On Monday, June 3, MELPWU formally notified the National Labour Commission, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, and the Ministries of Employment & Labour Relations, Health, and Finance, as well as other relevant agencies.

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The notice, signed by the General Secretary of MELPWU, Dr Cephas Kofi Akortor, expressed disappointment at stakeholders, citing “undue delay in concluding negotiations with the union,” and lack of financial clearance for non-mechanised members” as the reasons for the strike.

The union issued the notice in accordance with Section 159 of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), which governs industrial actions in Ghana.

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At a press briefing after a meeting with the FWSC, the union’s leadership described the talks as disappointing and accused the FWSC and Ministry of Finance of not showing a genuine commitment to resolving the issue.

“Without prejudice to the directives given by the National Labour Commission on 30th May 2024, we recognise that the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the Ministry of Finance are deliberately frustrating the efforts of a rather peaceful union that is ensuring that Labour-Management relationship does not suffer,” the union said in a statement.

The leaders of the union also hinted that the approval for the strike stems from the executive council’s inability to control an outburst situation of members and as such authorised the June 17 strike action.

“To prevent a rather explosive situation that cannot be easily managed by the union, the National Executive Council at an emergency meeting, approved the demands of membership to proceed on a full-blown industrial strike action effective Monday 17th June 2024 to enable them to press home the needed attention and importance to be given to the concerns of the union,” excerpt of the statement read.

After almost two years of negotiations, the union has resorted to strike action to compel the government to finalize the Conditions of Service agreement.

As a result of the strike, laboratory services in public hospitals across the country will be suspended from June 17, which will have an impact on healthcare services.

The union’s members include Medical Laboratory Scientists, Technicians, and Assistants, the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), Teaching Hospitals, Health Training Institutions, Ahmadiyya Health Services Ghana, University of Ghana Medical Centre, and other healthcare organizations.

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