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DAMAGING EFFECT OF STRIKES ON THE ECONOMY : THE NEED FOR DIALOGUE.
There is this perception that has almost become a belief that the only language the Government and the leaders will understand is the language of strikes or industrial action. This is rather unfortunate, considering the social, economic and human loses which an industrial action or strike leaves behind. In some cases these strikes leave behind painful and irreparable loses that have deep emotional and mental consequences on relatives.
The recent doctors strike is rather unfortunate calculation the number of patients who might have lost their lives and the panic situations that resulted because there was no doctor at post. Unfortunately these strike actions seriously affect the poor and the marginalized in the society. Besides the Nation suffers in some cases heavy economic loses and precious working hours are wasted. The sick are denied health care. Irritation and confusion sets in, sometimes ending in chaos.
Have the doctors paused to find out what would happen should the police should go on strike? Who handles the excess accident and the activities of the criminals? Have the doctors paused to reflect on what would happen when Ghana is attacked and the Ghana Armed Forces refuse to protect the country against the aggressor because the Armed Forces are on strike?
We suggest an innovative program that will make the Ghanaian more patriotic. A program that will instigate a paradigm shift in the minds of the people. Ghana has always got to be put first, making all other personal priorities secondary. In everyday life, people cheer and are happy and proud when Ghana wins an International game or football march. This collective joy, shows the level of importance that has to be given to matters that deal with Ghana.
If strikes, lead to economic losses with other ripple effects and loss of life then we must be concerned as a people. The doctors have to be circumspect when they have to apply any such industrial action mindful of loss of life and other economic constraints.
1. With the application of the SSSS increasing the Government payroll by 3 billion it is necessary that the use of law courts to settle industrial disputes has to be given priority.
2. Conditions for employment have to be collectively looked at with the TUC.
3. Private Public Partnership in the Health Sector should help the expansion of the Private hospitals to attend to some referral cases.
4. Some form of HNIS program for Private Hospitals should be able to give soft loans to help equip the private hospitals.
5. Gradually equal emphasis should be given to the private hospitals to ceat a solid alternative for patients should there be strikes.
It is only when we refuse to use the strike weapon uncontrolled, and remember that the fatal cost can also happen to our relatives and friends, that we can develop and sustain a peaceful and harmonious environment for cooperation and mutual respect.
Dr E.K.Hayford (Convener )
Ghana First- A Think Tank of Some Lecturers and Staff
from Public Universities