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Medical laboratory scientists begin nationwide strike

The Medical Laboratory Professional Workers’ Union (MELPWU) has announced a nationwide strike, effective June 17, 2024, over the lack of Conditions of Service for its members.

The strike follows unsuccessful negotiations with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) on May 31, 2024, which the union deemed “disappointing.”

The union has been negotiating for nearly two years, but the delayed negotiations have prompted the strike to pressure the government to conclude negotiations on Conditions of Service.

Laboratory services in public hospitals across the country, according to the Union would not be available from June 17, a situation which will adversely affect health care delivery.

MELPWU, on Monday, June 3 served a strike notice to the National Labour Commission (NLC), FWSC, Ministries of Employment & Labour Relations, Health and Finance, and all relevant agencies.

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

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

The executives of the union, 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.

Justifying the action, the notice stated, “Without prejudice to the directives given by the National Labour Commission on 30th May 2024, 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.

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, and National Blood Service.

It also has the 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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