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Medical laboratory scientists declare nationwide strike

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The Medical Laboratory Professional Workers’ Union (MELPWU) has declared a nationwide strike over their lack of Conditions of Service.

The strike, which takes effect from June 17, 2024, is to press home their demands for the conclusion of negotiations for Conditions of Service for medical laboratory professionals.

As a result, laboratory services in public hospitals across the country would not be available from June 17, a situation which will adversely affect health care delivery.

The notice for the strike, dated June 3, has been served to the National Labour Commission (NLC), Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Ministries of Employment & Labour Relations, Health and Finance, and all relevant agencies.

The declaration of the strike follows inconclusive negotiations with the FWSC last Friday, which the union described as disappointing. The delayed negotiations has dragged for nearly two years.

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

“Without prejudice to the directives given by the National Labour Commission on May 30, 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.

“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.

“Thus, services provided by our members in all medical laboratories, blood banks, pathology laboratories, and selected mortuary facilities will be impacted,” the notice stated.

According to the union, the notice is in accordance with Section 159 of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651).

The executives of the union, which has been threatening to embark on strike in recent months due to stalled negotiations, at a press briefing after a negotiation meeting with the FWSC, described the outcome of that meeting as disappointing, and accused the FWSC and Ministry of Finance of not demonstrating good faith.

Membership of the union comprises Medical Laboratory Scientists, Medical Laboratory Technicians, and Medical Laboratory Assistants who provide laboratory diagnostic services in all clinical laboratories and blood banks under the Ministry of Health and allied agencies including the Ghana Health Service, National Blood Service, Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), Teaching Hospitals, Health Training Institutions, Ahmadiyya Health Services Ghana and University of Ghana Medical Centre, among others.

It also includes laboratory professionals who provide technical services in Pathology Laboratories and selected mortuary facilities in the country.

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