The Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG) has threatened to embark on an indefinite strike beginning Thursday, October 1, 2020, to demand improved conditions of service.
This was contained in a statement released by the Association.
MOWAG in the statement said the industrial action is also as a result of the failure of its employer, the Ministry of Health, to “resolve our long-standing but resolvable grievances.”
Members of the group have complained about how they have had to work under intolerable conditions, including the constant inhalation of dangerous and cancer-causing chemicals such as formaldehyde, among others.
They have therefore warned that due to the inability of government to address their concerns under Article 159 of the Labour Law (Act 651), their strike will be in full force until their demands are fully met.
In the statement, the morgue workers raised some key issues which they say are not limited to the following:
1. Unresolved issues of salaries, allowances, job placements and promotions (conditions of service).
2. 50% bonus promises by the President to motivate frontline health workers but denied mortuary workers without explanation even after petitioning His Excellency, the President.
3. Mechanization and Employment of mortuary workers as long ago agreed by the MoH and MOWAG.
4. Non-provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to guarantee safety against the pandemic and other diseases that are confronted on daily basis at the mortuaries despite all the assurances from the government.
5. Victimization/intimidation of some members of the MOWAG by some institutional heads contrary to the spirit behind the Labour Act, 2003 (Act, 651).
6. Labour Department’s refusal/failure to respect and obey the directive of the National Labour Commission after the Commission directed, over a year ago that it does not support or condone illegality as in the case of the unlawful withdrawal of the MOWAG’s Collective Bargaining Certificate (CBC) and there tasked the Department to restore same.
“By this notice, all Mortuary Workers in public health institutions: Ghana Health Service, CHAG, Teaching Hospitals, University Hospitals and other quasi health institutions are hereby directed to lay down their tools on the 1st day of October until further notice”, the statement signed by MOWAG general secretary, Bernard Kofi Jordan noted.
Members of the Association of Ghana have always expressed concern about their safety in their line of work.
The workers say they even lack basic protective gear and tools which open them up to a lot of health risks.
In the past, the workers have embarked on industrial actions to demand better conditions of service but later return to work based on humanitarian ground.
This intended strike comes on the back of a similar one embarked on by nurses and midwives in the country to demand improved conditions of service.