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03 April 2014

Regularise our employment - Casual workers demand.

Three hundred cusual workers in nine public health facilities in the Accra metropolis have appealed to the ministers of Health and Finance to speed up the process of regularising their employment status with the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

They claimed to have been casual workers for a period of between one year and 12 years.

They complained that their working conditions had been worsened of late since their low wages are currently not being paid promptly.

Earlier complaint

In October 2013, about 300 casual workers in hospitals in the Accra metropolis complained about the delay in regularising their employment with the GHS.

Although they had worked far beyond the stipulated six months under Ghana’s labour laws, the casual workers, popularly referred to as ‘unconfirmed staff’, claimed every year they were promised that their status would be changed.

A visit to some of the health facilities under the Accra Health Metro Directorate revealed that a number of personnel at the various units, such as wards, pharmacies, laboratories, accounts, records and transport, were casual workers.

The facilities are the Achimota Hospital, Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital, Maamobi Polyclinic, Kaneshie Polyclinic, Dansoman Hospital, Civil Service Clinic, Ussher Clinic, Castle Clinic and Mokola Clinic.

Since they are not on government payroll, they are paid from the various hospitals’ own internally generated funds (IGFs).

Minister’s directive

Following a publication in the Daily Graphic over the plight of the casual workers, the Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, requested the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, to furnish her with the details of all casual workers by November 15, 2013.

The request, dated October 28, 2013, and copied to the Chief Director of the ministry and the deputy minister indicated that Ms Ayittey had asked for the list of the casual workers, their dates of engagement and work schedule.

In the letter, she also asked for the amount being paid the casual workers, the names of the authorising officers for their engagement and their location of work.

Five months on, however, the causal workers say their conditions are still the same. ‘‘We are still receiving very low wages. Our wages, which are not able to sustain us throughout the month, now delay after the month has ended,” they lamented.

The affected workers indicated in their petition that when they approached the authorities over their employment status “they always tell us that everything is in the hands of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance and that they cannot do much about it”.

They said that the Ministry of Finance was to issue clearance before the status of the casual workers could be regularised and therefore added that “we humbly appeal to the Finance Minister and all other agencies involved to speed up the process for we are suffering”.

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