We won’t call off the strike based on flimsy assurances– MELPWU

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Members of the Medical Laboratory Professional Workers Union in the Ashanti Region remain firm in their decision to continue the strike until their concerns are addressed.

The strike, which began on Monday, June 17, to demand better working conditions, is having a significant impact on patients who require laboratory tests.

Despite the impact, the strike does not appear to be ending anytime soon, as members of the association have taken a firm decision to continue on strike until their employer signs a memorandum of understanding to meet their demands.

Dr. Eric Kofi Aidoo, the Ashanti Regional Chairman for the Ghana Association of Medical Lab Scientists, addressed Channel One News that they are not ready to pull off the strike based on guarantees alone.

“We have not received an official notice to call off the strike. What we saw was someone putting out a circular that was not intended for us. If you really want to work with us, you should write to the union and ask them to the table, but don’t put anything negative out there. It’s not fair to expect others to sympathise with you and all that.

We’ve given you our terms, and we believe you need to meet us along the road. We will call off the strike once we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. It’s not about promising us that you’ll do this or that; we want something on paper, and we want it to be on our pay stub. “We’ll call it off once we have all of those things.”

The association, among other things, is campaigning for the employment of medical lab science graduates who have been unemployed for years, noting the scarcity of lab scientists in various institutions.

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“Whatever that we’re seeking is not only about money, but we also have students, interns who left school four, five years ago and are still at home. These people are so important, they number about 2,000 or more and are sitting at home. But you go to some facilities, you see only one scientist there doing all the work, such people are bound to make mistakes and when they come, the mistakes are grave.

Patients left stranded at hospitals in Koforidua

In a related development, the strike by the Medical Laboratory Professional Workers Union is negatively impacting healthcare delivery at various health facilities in the Eastern Region.

A visit by Citi News to the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital and the Eastern Regional Hospital in Koforidua saw a number of patients and relatives left stranded, as laboratory services at both facilities had completely been halted.

Surprisingly laboratory technicians at the St. Joseph Hospital at Effiduase were on duty attending to clients as they did not take part in the nationwide strike action by their union leaders.

Some patient relatives who shared their frustrations called on the government to immediately resolve all outstanding issues with the union for them to return to work.

A mother said, “[Pregnant woman] Every two months I come for the lab which helps me to know my child’s blood group. I was perturbed when I couldn’t meet the lab staff. We’re pleading with the government to ensure that whatever is due the lab union is fulfilled so that they can attend to us.”

“I was asked to do some labs, I arrived around 6:am, but I was told all of them are on strike, we’re pleading with the government to agree to their request,” a patient also said