By Auta Obadiah Dauda
Health workers in Kaduna State have shunned the governor’s threat of sacking them and commenced their seven days warning strike over unresolved issues between them and the state government.
This was contained in a communique issued to journalists at the end of the joint meeting of the Kaduna State workers unions and associations and signed by Dr. Danjuma Sale, Chairman, MDCAN, Dr. Emmanuel Joseph, President, ARD, Kaduna, Mr. Ibrahim Abashe, Chairman, National Association of Pharmaceutical Technologists and Pharmacy Technology of Nigeria, Dr. Akau Kache, Chairman, NMA Kaduna, and other ten healthcare workers unions and associations. That the fourteen leaders of the healthcare workers unions and associations in Kaduna were present at the meeting.
The communique states that the meeting was called to assess the response of the Kaduna State Government to their earlier communication and notice of seven days warning strike to press their demand.
“We observed that Kaduna State government deducted 25% of the salaries from about 11,000 of her 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 IDC 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,” they said.
The Kaduna health workers disclosed that the promised 10% incentives for other HCWs, though inadequate was yet to be paid. They said most HCWs that were infected with COVID-19 were from health facilities outside the IDCC and isolation centres and none of them had been paid the purported N100,000 daily for 10 days.
“None of our members working in hospitals have been contacted to give their details for the widely publicized 5 million naira and the 2 million naira 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.”
“There are no adequate PPEs in the State hospitals as evidenced where Patients are buying their own gloves and HCWs getting their own personal facemask and eye goggles among other basic PPEs.
”The Kaduna Health Workers said it was imperative to clarify that their action was not in any way blackmail in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. They said the public should note that the state doctors were on Strike prior to the pandemic but were prevailed upon to call-off their actions by the State and National NMA.
“At a time when the Case Management thematic pillars was having difficulties to get volunteers, the Unions came to their rescue by mobilizing and fully organizing the first training for HCWs to improve the capacity to take care of COVID-19 patients.”
“Up until Thursday 21st May 2020, the Unions and Associations were opened to negotiations and honored an invitation for a meeting called by the honorable commissioner of health even at very short notice.
“However issues raised at the meeting were not considered by the government, rather our members were inundated with a circular signed by the Commissioner of health-threatening no work no pay.
“This was followed by a press release with a threat from the government to sack any of our members who participate in the strike action.
” They resolved that it was on the basis of these anomalies that they were embarking on the seven days warning strike as they earlier notified from 12 noon on Friday 22nd MAY, 2020.
“We want to thank our members for complying with the directive of the unions and associations in the Kaduna State Health Sector. The general public should take note that we are open to dialogue and should, therefore, prevail on the State government to listen to the voice of reason and do the needful to avert the avoidable crisis in the Health Sector of the State,” they said