Kaduna health workers commence strike despite Gov. El-Rufai’s threat

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Kaduna State Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai

Kaduna State Healthcare Workers Unions and Associations have commenced a 7-day warning strike as earlier notified from 12 noon, Friday, May 22, despite a threat by the state government to sack any staff that partake in the industrial action.

Nasiru El-Rufa’i led Government had on Thursday evening issued a statement threatening to sack any medical staff who absconds from duty.

According to the unions, the warning strike is part of measures to protest deduction of 25 percent from their members’ salaries.

The commencement of the strike was announced in a communique issued at the end of their joint meeting in Kaduna

The unions said, the state doctors were on strike prior to the pandemic but were prevailed upon to call off their actions by the state and National bodies of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).

The health workers in the communique jointly signed by Dr Danjuma Sale, Chairman MDCAN BDTH, Dr Emmanuel Joseph, President ARD Kaduna, Mr Ibrahim Abashe, Chairman, National Association of Pharmaceutical Technologists and Pharmacy Technology of Nigeria and Dr Stephen Akau Kache, Chairman NMA Kaduna said, their strike is not to blackmail the state in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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It said the meeting was called to assess the response of Kaduna state government to their earlier notice of a 7- days warning strike to press home their demands.

The communique said, “Kaduna state government deducted 25% of the salaries from about 11000 of Healthcare workers in the midst of COVID 19 (April and May). This action was done in violation of section 5 of the Labour Act.

“Kaduna State Government paid between 150,000 to 450,000 naira as Occupational Safety incentives to about 300 selected HCWs and non HCWs working as staff or volunteer in the IDCC and isolation centre or serving in some of the COVID-19 pillars. Less than 2% of the HCWs in the State benefited from the packages, ‘’said the communique.

It said the promised 10% incentives for other HCWs though inadequate is yet to be paid. Most HCWs that were infected with COVID 19 are from health facilities outside the IDCC and isolation centres and none of them have been paid the purported #100,000 daily for 10 days.

“None of our members working in hospitals have been contacted to give their details for the widely publicized #5million and the #2 million life and disability insurance respectively.’’

“All health workers are exposed to varying degrees of risk of infectious diseases such as COVID 19, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDs, Lassa fever, Ebola fever among others.

The communique added that, “There are no adequate PPEs in the State hospitals as evidenced by Patients buying their own gloves, HCWs getting their own personal facemask and eye goggles among other basic PPEs.’’