Coronavirus: El-Rufai threatens health workers over planned strike

YEMIE FASH

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Coronavirus: El-Rufai threatens health workers over planned strike

The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has threatened health workers with the termination of their appointment if they proceed with planned industrial action amidst Coronavirus pandemic.

Following the salary cut, the Congress of Health Workers Unions and Associations in the state threatened to go on strike. Hence, the state mandated a register to be signed by those willing to work with the government.

According to a statement by Mr El-Rufai special adviser on media, Muyiwa Adekeye, he said: “Every health worker that is willing to work is required to sign the register at the Ministry of Health and the health institutions to which they are deployed.

“It is instructive that the strike action was announced on the same day that many health workers were showing evidence on social media of the N450,000 they had received as April 2020 incentive.

“To declare strike action amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the state government is naked blackmail, based on the mistaken assumption that the state government will reward irresponsible conduct by some health workers with surrender.

“Government will not be browbeaten by strike action into excluding health workers from the sacrifices being made by other public servants who are donating 25% of their salary to fund the provision of palliatives for low-income, poor and vulnerable persons that are impacted by the lockdown.

“The salary deductions introduced in April 2020 apply to everyone who works for KDSG, from the Governor to the most junior civil servant with take-home pay of more than N50,000 monthly.”

“Medium risk staff are receiving N10,000 per day. These are officers involved in taking samples, transferring patients to treatment centres, tracing contacts etc.”

“Low-risk staff are receiving N5,000 per day. These classifications were done by the Emergency Operations Committee on which health professionals, including the NMA, are amply represented.

“Asking the state government to treat the over 11,000 persons working in the health sector as frontline staff and pay them as such is not a serious request. There is a global shortage of PPEs, but amidst these supply-side difficulties, the state government consistently tries to keep its secondary health facilities supplied.

“Expanding health sector resilience and capacity to improve access to health services is a cardinal goal of this government. In pursuit of this objective, the government has recruited more health workers, improved health facilities and implemented initiatives of social inclusion like the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme and the supply-chain transformation project of the Kaduna State Health Supplies Management Agency (KASHMA),” Mr El-Rufai wrote.

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