Mortuary workers in the country have threatened to begin a nationwide strike from next week Tuesday should the government fail to resolve issues regarding their conditions of service by October 19.
According to them, all efforts to get the Ministry of Health to resolve their issues, which ranges from poor remuneration, overtime, poor safety and personal protective gears as well denial of their annual leave, have proved futile.
They have since November 8 served notice to the Health Minister and the Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission of their intention to strike on November 20 if their grievances are not addressed by then.
“We are serving you and the Ministry of Health this notice of our intention to resort to a nationwide strike starting from Tuesday 20th November, 2018 … if by 19th November, that is seven working days from the date of this letter, our proposal that had been submitted to the Ministry of Health is not fully addressed,” the said in a letter to the NLC and the MoH.
Both the Ministry of Health and the National Labour Commission have since November 9 received the letter signed by the General Secretary of the Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana, Richard Kofi Jordan.
- Many of the Mortuary Workers are denied perpetual their annual leave in violation of section 20 of Act 651.
- Most Mortuary Workers work more than the required 8 hours including Saturdays and Sundays in violation of section 33 of Act 651.
- Most have been employed as casual and temporary workers in violation of section 74 and 75 of Act 651, which does not guarantee job security especially in the environment in which they work.
- In terms of remuneration, it is unfortunate to state that Mortuary workers are treated as most unrecognized in the sector and for that matter, least paid on the salary structure of Ministry of Health with no single allowance.
- Many of the Mortuary facilities are understaffed, no maintenance which compromises on health and safety rules of the sector making the workers unnecessary to suffer in silence.
- In terms of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), some have to struggle to get them to use making the working conditions at some facilities undesirable.
- There is no provision for universal medical checkups plan in violation of sections 118 of Act 651.
- No overtime is paid which is in violation of section 35.
- They are not paid for public holidays in violation of section 72 of Act 651.
- They work on weekends on which are resting days by law which will amount to overtime but are not paid.
The workers said the issues raised “are some irregularities or illegalities being perpetrated against” them by the Ministry of Health and its agencies “with impunity”.
“It is therefore surprising that the Ministry of Health does not see these infringements on the rights of the Ghanaian Mortuary worker and is reluctant to resolving them,” the workers said.
The workers said they will consequently withdrawal all services until “we are convinced that our concerns presented to the Ministry of Health are fully addressed”, and urged the public to bear with them during the strike.
“We also wish to state clearly that any intimidation or attempt from any agency, department or institution under Ministry of Health to any Mortuary Worker in the country will be met with equal force during the period of our strike,” the workers said.