Labour expert, Austin Gamey, has described as regrettable the circumstances surrounding the removal of the Medical Director at the Ridge Hospital by the Health Minister.
According to him, the confusion and drama could have been avoided if the Minister had used the right institutions and channels for the removal of the Medical Director.
Dr Thomas Awuni Anaba, Medical Director has refused to vacate his post after receiving dismissal letter from the Minister last week, insisting that the Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has no right to dismiss him.
“The only one who can terminate my appointment is Ghana Health Service Council. I still have three years,” he said.
The dismissal letter was later replaced with a transfer letter, directing Dr. Anaba to return to the University of Development Studies (UDS) Medical School from where he was appointed by the previous government.
But the Director insists that the directive was improper and illegal, and threatened to sue the Health Minister.
In an interview with ADR Daily over the impasse which has the potential to adversely affect the management of the hospital, Mr. Gamey said although the Ministry has a right to change a Medical Director, it needed to use the right procedure in accordance with the labour laws.
Since the Medical Director was appointed on merit through the relevant appointment process and has a contractual arrangement, he cannot be dismissed without recourse to the appointment contract.
He has a right to be given reasons for his removal. And even if non performance is cited, the Labour Act requires the employer to conduct a retraining for the employee to be able to meet performance targets.
Mr. Gamey quoted Section 9 (d) of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651 which states that the duties of an employer include “the duty to develop the human resources by way of training and retraining of the workers.”
Also, he quoted Section 62 which states that a termination of a worker’s employment is fair if the contract of employment is terminated by the employer on any of the grounds that (a) the worker is incompetent or lacks the qualification in relation to the work for which the worker is employed; (b) the proven misconduct of the worker; (c) redundancy under section 65.
“If the reason is incompetency, the worker’s incompetency would have to be proven,” he stressed.
Ministers have rights to take such actions, but it must be based on informed advice from the appointing institutions and the Chief Labour officers in the Ministries, he explained.
On the way forward, Mr Gamey said “I expect the Minister to hold a meeting with Dr. Anaba to inform him of the decision so that the matter could be settled,” adding that, even if it is a political decision to remove the Medical Director, the right procedure must be used.
Asked the options available to Dr. Anaba in view of the fact that he has threatened to sue the Minister, Mr. Gamey urged him to rather seek redress at the Labour Commission.
ADR Daily News Desk