Mortuary attendants working in different hospitals across the country threatened to down their tools. The main reason for this is that they work in poor conditions of service that need to be enhanced so that they can offer the best services. The association sites low salaries and meagre allowances as one of the key causes of the unrest, and the little amounts leave them perpetually assigned to hardship. In this post, we cover the mortuary workers strike situation and its causes.
The workers issued a notice to the Ministry of Health and the National Labour Commission of the intention to take the strike action. According to them, if their grievances won’t be addressed by November 19, then they will be left with no other option but carry on with the strike and no mortuary in Ghana will be in operation as from 20th November.
The notice was dated November 8th 2018 and was signed by the General Secretary of the Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG), Mr. Richard Kofi Jordan. The document takes note of the numerous attempts (both through phone calls and in writing) by the mortuary worker association to resolve the impasse with the Ministry of Health.
However, none of their efforts bore any fruit, and the workers have no option but to take part in the nationwide industrial strike action that would drum home the interest of the workers and their socio-economic rights.
Here’s a verbatim statement from the notice:
Accordingly, we are serving you and the Ministry of Health this notice of our intention to resort to a nationwide STRIKE ACTION starting from Tuesday 20th November 2018 in accordance with Section 159 of the Labour Act 2003 (651) if by 19th November, that is seven (7) working days from the date of this letter, our proposal that had been submitted to the Ministry of Health is not fully addressed
According to the association, most of the employees who take part in mortuary work were hired as temporary and casual workers. This means that they don’t have any guaranteed job security, in their working environment.
Despite the risky and demanding nature of their job, most employees in the sector claim that they’re treated like the most unrecognized in the economy, and this is why they get the least remuneration in the Ministry of Health’s salary structure. To make matters worse, they don’t even have a single allowance.
However, the association believes that total withdrawal of services in all parts of the country would be the only remedy that would necessitate presentation of their concerns to the ministry. This way, most issues will be fully addressed prior to the industrial action.
Full statement of the mortuary workers strike
According to the organization, it was regrettable that most of their concerns would have reached the heights such that they had no alternative than resort to a nationwide strike that would lead to profound results.
Some of the issues raised by the workers are enumerated as follows
- A majority of mortuary staff are restricted from enjoying their annual leave, which is a violation of section 20 of Act 651
- A good number of employees in this sector have working hours that go beyond the stipulated 8 hours, and even work on both Saturday and Sunday. This is a violation of section 33 of Act 651.
- Another good number of employees work on temporary terms, and thus they don’t enjoy job security.
- When it comes to remuneration, mortuary workers are the least paid. Furthermore, there are no allowances allocated for them.
- Most mortuary facilities in the country are understaffed and lack maintenance. This compromises the safety and health rules of the sector, and this is one of the predicaments in which the workers suffer in silence.
- When it comes to the very necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), some of the workers have a hard time as they work without them, making the working conditions undesirable.
- Mortuary workers don’t enjoy universal medical checkups, and this is a violation of section 118 of Act 651.
- Workers don’t get any overtime payment, which violates section 35.
- They also don’t get paid for any public holidays, and this violates section 72 of Act 651.
- Employees are overworked as they usually work even on weekends, which are set aside by the law as resting days.
The association seized the opportunity and sympathized with members of the public that may be inconvenienced during the period. To sum it all up, the agitated workers stated that any intimidation or attempt by any institution, agency, or department under the Ministry of Health to the workers would be met with equal force during the striking period.
What’s your view on the mortuary workers strike? Feel free to share your highlights as well as any other mortuary news in the comments section.