THE Coalition of Unconsented Nurses and Midwives group, comprising over 2000 nurses and midwives, are raising the red flag over what they described as “deliberate delay” of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives’ Association to refund their salary deductions to them.
According to the group, even though they have provided all material proof to the GRNMA and its related partners to give them their refund, the leadership of the association has turned a deaf ear to their call.
One of the group’s Conveners, Joseph Arhin, told the DAILY HERITAGE in an interview that they would be petitioning the Presidency in the coming days should the GRNMA fail to give them the refund.
He added that should nothing be done afterwards, they would storm the offices of the GRNMA to stop them from working.
He indicated that they would also test the law should what they described as sabotaging their effort persist.
Samuel Pius Lasir, another convener of the aggrieved nurses and midwives, told the DAILY HERITAGE that in the era of Covid-19, when the President has called for all to eat healthy food to boost their immune system, their monies ought to be given to them with immediate effect.
“They are delaying us with the payment. We are coming together to take them to court. We are giving them an ultimatum to communicate back to us within that period. We want them to pay us or we will petition the President. They are sabotaging the system and if that happens they will lose more members . We want our money.”
According to them the aggrieved nurses and Midwives, members who have decided to chase their refund, have become a target of threat from the GRNMA, a development they describe as unfortunate.
He said they had held meetings with the Labour Commission, where Madam Evelyn Mensah, the Chief Nursing Director at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Baffour Awuah, of the Ministry of Health, Dr Asante Krobea, former president of GRNMA, and Madam Perpetual Ofori, current president, were all present, but said these people were always dragging their feet.
“At the meeting, they asked us to furnish them with the list and staff Identification Cards of the petitioners and where they work. A total of 2, 487 nurses and midwives penned down their names and we served them,” he told the paper in Accra on Saturday.
It would be recalled that on February 28, 2020, the paper carried a story on its front page indicating that there was simmering tension within the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives’ Association (GRNMA) over what was described as “unconsented deductions”.
It was the case of the aggrieved nurses and midwives that they were made to understand that certain deductions would be made from their salaries as contribution into the GRNMA Nurses Fund and that upon exiting the association or attaining retirement, their contributions would be refunded to them.
But “After several months of exiting the association, some members are yet to receive their Nurses fund deductions from the association,” Piue Lasir said.
“The immediate past executives of the GRNMA, who were vilified by the current administration for reasons best known to them, started with the payment process and, indeed, paid a number of people who submitted their request,” Mr Lasir said and expressed wonder why the new executive were not following suit.
The aggrieved health professionals have, therefore, lashed out at the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association over undue deductions on the path of the GNRMA as the reason for the fury.
A statement issued then by the nurses noted that, “The current Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) executives are fomenting trouble in the health sector, which has been peaceful for some time now.
“These new executives, since they took over office, have done nothing but to cause chaos among the rank and file of the profession.”
After that point, the statement questioned, “Since when has joining or remaining in a union become ‘by force‘.
“For about sixty years (60 years), the GRNMA was the sole union for Nurses and Midwives in the country. Over this period, members contributed 2% of their salary as dues, and currently GHc20 is contributed as building levy and GHc50.00 into the Nurses Fund, which is managed by Axis Pensions. The understanding is that all contributors will be given their money upon retirement or exit from the union.”
The statement went on that, “The current president [of the association] before she took office, made all of us to feel she was the messiah who was coming to save us and thus our refund was not going to be a problem.”
“It is quite astonishing that few weeks after taking office, the only thing we can talk about now is lawsuits against the union and press statements upon press statements from aggrieved members across the country.
“We are by this public notice giving the GRNMA and Axis Pensions five working days to pay us our money or face the wrath of members.
“The conveners of this group have so far been able to manage the (anger of) members and prevented them from doing anything that will disrupt the health delivery system, especially in this time of coronavirus outbreak, which is threatening global health but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to hold members back if their monies are not paid to them within this time frame.”
Efforts to reach the GRNMA for reactions had proven futile as at the time of going to press