The Health Committee of Parliament has asked aggrieved medical laboratory scientists to call off their ongoing strike and petition it to look into their issues.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Ayew Afriyie, human lives must not be sacrificed on the altar of outstanding issues that can be addressed.
Laboratory scientists at KATH have been on a sit-down strike in the last week, kicking against a decision by the Hospital’s management to reassign two haematologists to the lab unit.
Addressing the media in Parliament on Thursday, Dr. Ayew Afriyie said the health committee is ready to look into the grievances of the striking workers.
Dr. Ayew said the committee has worked with the group on other issues in the past, and is ready to work on their current demands.
He, however, expressed the disappointment of the committee members that the lab scientists did not seek an audience with them before embarking on the strike.
“We have not been petitioned on the matter, but as an issue of public concern, we would want to speak on it. We represent our constituents, and the harsh effects of the decision of the total strike by the laboratory scientists eventually will be borne by our constituents. It is in this regard that we see the need to hold a common position to speak on this issue at the moment.”
“We have worked very much with various stakeholders in line with our standing orders before, and we are able to take petitions and work to satisfy the public interest. We have worked with the laboratory scientists just last year before the new Teaching Hospitals Amendment Act was passed. When they felt their views were not taken, and they petitioned us, we listened to them and felt the need for them to be represented onboard.”
He further added the issue is important to them, and for that matter asked the lab scientists to return to work and petition them to probe the issues.
“… So we are disappointed that on a major issue of this nature, they failed to inform us about it to discuss it, and then they went ahead to proceed on a strike without involving us, we are worried. It is because of this that we are asking them jointly that we will need them to come and meet with the select committee on health, we’ve been there for them before, and we can be there for them again. We are ready to listen to them and provide them with hope on the matter.”
“This strike is about an issue that is not on their conditions of service, and that is normally the main reason for strikes. This is an issue we consider important, however, it should not affect the lives of our constituents, and we can have a common ground on it. We are ready to engage them and bring all the various stakeholders. So we are by this note asking for their petition to sit on it with all the stakeholders to come to a middle point, and we want to say that they would have to go back to work.”
The members of the Ashanti Regional chapter of the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association, have declared an indefinite strike starting Thursday, 27th May 2021, in support of their colleagues at KATH, who have also started a full-blown strike after an initial one-week sit-down strike.
They have vowed to call off the strike only if the two are withdrawn from the hospital’s laboratory unit.