The Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG) has agreed to call of its intended strike slated for Thursday, October 1, 2020.
The government represented by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations held a meeting with the leadership of the Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG) on Tuesday, September 29,2020, at the ministry on the association’s threat to withdraw services on October 1, 2020.
It was agreed at the meeting that MOWAG calls off its intended strike as the Ministry of Health and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) meet its demands for improved conditions of service.
A statement jointly signed by Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, on behalf of the government and the General Secretary of MOWAG, Richard Kofi Jordan, highlighted the terms as agreed by both parties.
Below are the terms as spelt out in the statement;
- Fair Wages and Salaries Commission should collaborate with MOWAG to resolve the issue of salaries and allowances taking into consideration the risks and uniqueness of their job.
- That Mortuary attendant in health facilities with recorded cases of COVID-19 deaths should be considered as part of the front-line staff and hence benefits from any benefit that it goes with.
- That the Ministry of Health should expedite action on and complete the issuance of appointment letters to eligible mortuary workers.
- That the Ministry of Health should ensure the provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Mortuary workers in all health facilities at all times. Those PPEs should not only be limited to those of COVID-19 pandemic but also their routine job assignments.
- That MOWAG should liaise with the Labor Department to resolve matters relating to the issuance of a Collective Bargaining Certificate to MOWAG.
- That all the decisions reached should be implemented within a month.
- That a meeting would be convened among the stakeholders including MOWAG on or before October 27, 2020, to bring finality to the discussions.
- That, MOWAG has agreed to call off their intended strike.
Demands of mortuary workers
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 warned that due to the inability of the 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.
Aside from issues of unresolved salaries, allowances, job placements, and promotions, the workers are also demanding the 50 percent bonus promised by the President to motivate frontline health workers.
They have also raised concerns over the mechanization and employment of mortuary workers as long ago agreed by the government.
The non-provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to guarantee safety against the pandemic and other diseases that they are confronted with is also one of their concerns.
In addition, there are concerns with the victimization of some members of the association by some institutional heads.