The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has sounded a word of caution to Ghanaians and persons that will need their services in public hospitals to prepare to visit private facilities during the yuletide when their intended strike action kicks off next week.
Just like organized labour (TUC), the GMA has also declared its intent to strike next Tuesday if the government does not exempt their pension funds from the planned debt exchange programme.
They complain of lack of engagement and the impact this will have on members as their reason not to be part of any debt exchange program being carried out by the government.
Speaking on Abusua Nkomo, with Show host Kojo Bimpong Marfo, the GMA president Dr. Frank Serebour asked Ghanaian not to view their action as insensitive but a genuine call for their voices to be heard by the powers that be.
“Our labour laws suggest we give 7 days’ notice, before embarking on any strike, and this we have done, yesterday, so today we are giving notice, so that on the 27th of December when we strike it will be in order, as our strike would have begun then”
“I have heard people saying and wondering, why we intend to on strike on a holiday or during Christmas when we are essential service, yes we are essential service but we don’t have special days in our kind of job, all days are equal because we work all the time, same for 27th December or any other day” he said.
“We are just hoping that the government will listen to us and intervene before the 27th, otherwise we will embark on our strike. The GMA has started its preparations, we are meeting other groups in the health sector (GRNMA, Pharmacist, Laboratory professional Associations)on Thursday to put in place a road map, it affects them too. Our strike will be indefinite, so our advising to people is that this Christmas they should save money for private healthcare too, because it could take three months or more”
Readers can recall that the government earlier this month publicized a debt restructuring measure by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta which has faced some opposition.
The objective of the debt program was to invite domestic bond holders to voluntarily exchange approximately GH¢137 billion of the domestic notes and bonds of the country, for a package of New Bonds to be issued later.
Bondholders like pension funds, banks and insurance firms will have to exchange their bonds for one that will earn zero interest next year, this has brought about some level of tension as the government has been accused of lack of engagement.
The new bonds will only begin to earn five per cent interest in 2024 and 10 per cent for the remainder of their tenure. The maturity dates have also been extended with the first bonds only maturing in 2027.