In a statement titled “Any unforetold death belittles Ghana”, he charged that “all doctors who work in public hospitals or are employed in the public sector must cease all forms of industrial action now and return to full patient care as stipulated under their contract of employment”.
He said if the doctors were not satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations with the government, they should resign from the public health service.
“Each and every doctor who feels so inclined must serve a notice of resignation of employment stipulated in their letter of engagement, and duly resign from the public health service if he or she is not satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations between government and their leaders.”
Although Dr Wereko-Brobby labelled the strike as illegal and added that any doctor who was not fulfilling his or her contract of employment was not entitled to his or her full pay, he was nonetheless of the view that doctors who had chosen to practise in Ghana were deserving of gratitude.
“I am actually of the view that doctors who have chosen to stay here in Ghana, especially those who have opted to work in the public hospitals and clinics, are the real heroes and patriots of our time and most deserving of our gratitude and mollification. If we cannot praise them and recognise the sacrifice they have made, we have no excuse whatsoever to mock and make them the Frankenstein monsters of our times,” he said.
Outlining the conditions under which public workers could embark on industrial action, Dr Wereko-Brobby said the Labour Act of 2003 (Act 651) had laid out a very comprehensive procedure for the settlement of industrial disputes and set out the road map, from settlement by negotiation, through to the arbitration processes and institution of compulsory settlements if deemed necessary.
He also cited Section 159 of the Labour Act which provided that issues of disagreement between parties must be referred to voluntary arbitration, while unresolved disputes at the end of the arbitration proceedings must necessitate a written notice to the other party and the Labour Commission.
“One of the more important features of our current labour laws is the right to strike by some key workers. Section 162 of the law makes it clear and without equivocation that some workers, who are employed in what is termed ‘Essential Services’ cannot go on strike, period,” he stressed.
Dr Wereko-Brobby urged the various social commentators and self-appointed negotiators and spin doctors involved in the dispute to steer clear of, cautioning that “they cannot afford to put their own or any other Ghanaian’s life at risk for the luxury of demonstrating their machismo.”