TV3 uncovers abuse of casual workers at Accra Psychiatric Hospital

The Accra Psychiatric Hospital has in the last six years, been abusing the rights of its casual workers, an investigation by TV3 has uncovered.

Although it is against the Labour Law to engage a casual worker for a continuous period of more than six months, the Hospital authorities have in the last six years been hiding behind a government policy to contravene the law, which mandates employees to make casual workers they engage permanent after six months of continuous service.

Thirty-five people made up of orderlies, masons, carpenters, technicians, plumbers, tailors and environmental workers have for six continuous years, been engaged as casual workers by the Hospital authorities without a permanent employment.

For the six years they have been working at the Hospital as casual workers, they have remained on a monthly salary of GH¢150.
A number of the affected workers who spoke to TV3 on condition of anonymity complained about their treatment, noting that the salary is not something that is able to put them and their families afloat. They said transportation to and from work alone takes all their salary.

Section 75(1) of the Law states: “a temporary worker who is employed by the same employer for a continuous period of six months and more shall be treated under this Part as a permanent worker.

When the attention of the Dr. Akwasi Osei, Director of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, was drawn to the abuse of the workers right as per the labour law, he said the situation is not peculiar to his outfit but all three psychiatric health institutions in the country.

Dr. Osei said because they have not had financial clearance from the Finance Ministry, their hands are tied in engaging the affected workers as a full time employees of the Hospital.

“What really is the situation is that, if we are not getting financial clearance for them, we cannot put them on a payroll… So what we are really supposed to do is that every six months we need to discharge them and enroll a new casual worker,” he said.

“You cannot go out of your own way and recruit new staff, that has been the policy of the government all along and one must be careful not to go against the policy,” he explained.

He also noted the Hospital does not have the full complement of the staff needed to ensure the efficient running of the facility hence rely on the casual workers to provide healthcare, saying “we do not have the full complement of our staff who are on the payroll, yet the work must go on”.


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