'Inform NLC that you have resumed work' (Saturday, June 29, 2013, pg 12)

THE Financial Division of the Accra Fast Track High Court has directed the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) to write to the National Labour Commission (NLC) and inform them that they have resumed work.

The court also ordered that a copy of the letter should be made available to it.

Issues concerning the resumption of work by the pharmacists cropped up Friday, when counsel for the GHOSPA, Mr Ernest Aboagye, informed the court that the pharmacists had complied with the NLC directive to resume work.

But the NLC lawyer, Ms Afiba Amihere, denied knowledge of any official communication that indicated that the pharmacists had gone back to work.

To that, Mr Aboagye said the GHOSPA had taken advantage of almost all media platforms to announce that its members had resumed nationwide.

The NLC applied to the Accra Financial High Court to compel members of the GHOSPA to call off their strike, which had caused major disruptions in government health facilities across the country.

The NLC is further seeking an order compelling the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to enforce its judgement of February 25, 2013 relating to the conversion difference of the members of the GHOSPA.

The NLC had, in its February 25 ruling, directed the FWSC to restore the conversion difference of the pharmacists and refund the conversion difference deducted from the salaries of the GHOSPA members since 2010 to date.

Conversion difference is applied only when the sum of an employee’s basic salary and category one allowances (on current salary) is higher than what he/she would enjoy on his/her salary point on the Single Spine Salary Structure.

The excess of this over the salary on the SSSS is termed as the conversion difference.

The conversion difference is paid to the affected employee so that he/she would not be worse off when migrated onto the Single Spine Salary Structure.

Earlier, Mr Aboagye had sought to invoke the inherent powers of the court to compel the FWSC to take a look at a wide range of issues concerning the migration of pharmacies onto the single spine salary structure, including the grading structure of pharmacists, but that did not sit well with the counsel for the FWSC, Mr Augustine Ahamey.

He told the court that issues concerning the grading system were not part of the issues before the court.

Justice Ajet-Nasem agreed, stating that the court could only make pronouncements on issues before it.

Meanwhile, the court has fixed July 5, 2013 as the day it would give its ruling on the matter before it.

The NLC decision to go to court was necessitated by the protracted strike which started in April 2013.

The GHOSPA declared the strike, claiming that the FWSC had short-changed its members on issues relating to their migration onto the SSSS.

The strike action was called by the executives of GHOSPA to press home their demand for the full implementation of NLC’s ruling of January 25 and February 23, 2013 on their conversion difference and grading structure under the SSSS.

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