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Hospital Pharmacists Association unhappy with National Labour Commission ruling

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The Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA), has expressed reservations about the decision of the Arbitration Award by the Panel of the National Labour Commission (NLC) in reaction to a protest by GHOSPA.

This year, members of the Association protested against the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) for Pharmacists in Government employment.

A statement issued by Stephen Corquaye, National Chairman of GHOSPA in Accra at the weekend, called for equitable and fair review of the SSSS with dispatch in order to preserve the harmony of the industrial front.

“In asking for a review, GHOSPA believes the Award by the three-man Panel of Dennis K.Y. Vormawor (Chairman), Opanin Obeng-Fosu and Daniel Acheampong, is fraught with flaws premised on untenable deductions and therefore unjustifiable and without merit after almost two weeks of intensive hearing of oral and documentary evidence.

“GHOSPA wonders why the Panel decided that the Grievances Review Committee, as envisaged under Section 19 of Act 737, must take up the review even though the Panel knows the Committee has not been established and therefore does not exist as at the date of the Award.

“Further, the Legislative Instrument (LI) spelling out the procedure of the Grievances Review Committee has not been passed.

“The question then is: ‘How does the Panel expect the Review Committee to carry out the review as recommended?”

The statement said the basis for GHOSPA’s unhappiness with the Panel’s work, among other things, generally stems from the Panel’s unanimous ruling that:

“It observes that relativities of the scheme of remuneration of the health sector have changed comparatively to the pre-SSSS regime.”

It said reviewing the evidence before it, the panel has come to the conclusion that in view of the enormity of the issues, as well as the technicalities involved in arriving at an equitable solution, it is:

“Constrained by time (a compulsory arbitration process must be completed within 14 days-section 164(2) of Labour Act 2003, Act 651); and

“Acknowledges the existence of a statutory provision in Act 737 for reviewing complaints related to grading and re-grading of jobs in the public service.”

The statement said the Panel then proceeded to decide that: “The Grievance Review Committee established under the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) Act, (Act 737) should complete a review of the grading structure and market premium for Pharmacists.

GHOSPA expressed concern that; The Grievance Review Committee envisaged under Section 19 of Act 737 has not been established and does not exist as at the date of the Award. Even the LI spelling out its procedure has not been passed.

The remit of the Grievance Review Committee as stated under Sections 21 (a), (b) and (c) does not include “complaints from labour groups” or “resolution of deadlocks between employers and labour and acts on documentations and recommendations from the Chief Executive and analysis and information provided by the Secretariat of the FWSC.

The statement said the Right of Appeal for a person dissatisfied with a decision of the Grievance Review Committee first lies with the Board of the FWSC, then the NLC under Section 24 of Act 737.

It said the Panel completed the whole exercise two clear days ahead of schedule and yet gave constraint of time as an excuse to do justice.

“GHOSPA observes that two members of the Panel were part of the same Panel that gave a specific Award on the same issues of Premium and Grade Structure in the matter of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and the FWSC barely a month ago. GHOSPA therefore finds it surprising that this same panel finds the issues involved to be ‘technical’ since the issues raised by the GMA are not too dissimilar to those articulated by GHOSPA.

“Dissatisfied with the award, GHOSPA has applied for a review of the Panel’s decision with a proviso that the review be undertaken with dispatch considering the on-set of the Christmas break, failing which the Association will take necessary steps to ensure justice for its members.”

It called on the Ministries of Health, Finance and Economic Planning and Employment and Social Welfare to, as a matter of urgency, take steps to restore the relativities, which have been gravely distorted by the migration of health workers unto the SSSS.

The statement expressed the need for stakeholders to be to inform that any spontaneous reaction from the members of GHOSPA as result of the delay in resolving the issue should be blamed on the doorstep of the NLC.

Members called on the Government, the Council of State, the National House of Chiefs, Civil Society Organisations, Religious Leaders and stakeholders to intervene to ensure justice, equity and fairness in order to preserve the harmony on the Industrial front.

The statement said: “It is important to note that GHOSPA members have not been duly migrated to the SSSS as announced by the FWSC.

Source: GNA

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