© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Kaduna Govt. keeps silent as health workers shun El Rufai’s sack threat, commence strike
THE Kaduna State goverment has remained quiet since the health workers in the state announed the plan to commence 7-day warning strike action in protest against the deduction of their salaries.
The health workers under the umbrella body of Kaduna State Health Care Workers Union and Associations had earlier criticised the state government for allegedly deducting 25 per cent from their salaries.
This is away from the 10 per cent incentive Mallam Nasir El Rufai promised the Health Care Workers (HCW) who had been at the forefront of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) but reportedly failed to fulfil.
“Kaduna State government deducted 25 per cent of the salaries from about 11, 000 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…,” the workers stated in a communiqué jointly signed by Dr Danjuma Sale, Dr Emmanuel Joseph, Ibrahim Abashe and Dr Stephen Kache.
“Kaduna State Government paid between N150, 000 to N450, 000 as occupational safety incentives to about 300 selected HCWs and non-HCWs working as staff or volunteers in the IDC and isolation centre or serving in some of the COVID-19 pillars. Less than 2 per cent of the HCWs in the State benefited from the packages.”
As a result, the workers threatened a seven-day warning strike except the government rescinds its decision and meet workers’ demands.
In his reaction, Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser on Media and Communication to el-Rufai, criticised the move by the workers, describing it as blackmail.
He warned that the proposed strike would lead to sack.
“Government rejects the strike threat and will regard persons who fail to show up at their assigned places of work as having forfeited their employment,” Adekeye stated in a press statement.
“To declare strike action amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is naked blackmail,” he added.
It has been two days since the strike action was reported in the media but the state government has remained quiet on the threat.
The ICIR repeatedly contacted Adekeye on Sunday to find out the government’s next plan but he did not respond to the phone calls.
Text message sent to him to find out if the state would consider the health workers’ demands or still sack the group of medical workers was not returned.
Meanwhile, the aggrieved workers disclosed that despite being at the frontline of the pandemic, their members still personally procure their face masks and protective goggles, among others.
They complained of inadequate Personal Protective Equipment in the state hospitals while patients allegedly bought their gloves.
“None of our members working in hospitals has been contacted to give their details for the widely publicised N5m and N2m 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,” they stated.