Over 11,000 health workers under the aegis of Kaduna State Health Care Workers Union and Associations began a seven-day warning strike on Saturday following the state government’s decision to deduct 25 per cent from their salaries.
They said the deduction was done in violation of the Labour Act.
The health workers said in a communiqué that they decided to down their tools to force the state government to reverse its decision.
The state government had threatened to sack any health worker that embarked on the strike, claiming they were blackmailing the state.
The Special Adviser on Media and Communication to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, Muyiwa Adekeye, had said, “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.
“To declare strike action amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is naked blackmail.”
In the communiqué signed by Dr Danjuma Sale, Dr Emmanuel Joseph, Ibrahim Abashe and Dr Stephen Kache, the health workers denied that they were out to blackmail the state.
“Kaduna State Government paid between N150,000 and N450,000 as occupational safety incentives to about 300 selected HCWs (health care workers) and non-HCWs working as staff or volunteers in the IDCC and isolation centres or serving in some of the COVID-19 pillars. Less than two per cent of the HCWs in the state benefited from the package.
“The promised 10 per cent incentives for other HCWs, though inadequate, has yet to be paid.
“Most health workers that were infected with COVID-19 are from health facilities outside the IDCC and isolation centres and none of them has been paid the purported N100,000 daily for 10 days.
“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.
“No adequate PPEs in the state hospitals. Patients buy their own gloves.
“Health workers get their own face masks and protective goggles, among others.”