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Kaduna’s Health Workers Ignore el-Rufai, to Embark on Strike

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Kaduna’s health workers say that they will start a seven-day warning strike on Saturday, despite Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s threats to sack any state official who joins the strike action.

The state’s major health workers’ union, the Kaduna State Health Workers Union and Associations which claims to have up to eleven thousand members, said that it began a warning strike on Saturday to protest the state’s order deducting twenty-five per cent of their wages, an action which the labour leaders oppose on the grounds that it violates 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.

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.

It read: “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. They 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 publicized 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.”

The state government has not responded to the union’s announcement.

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