Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has warned health workers in the state against embarking on strike, saying it would be tantamount to forfeiting their employment.
Reacting to the official strike notice sent to the state government by the health workers, El-Rufai in a statement issued by his Special Adviser to the Governor (Media & Communication), Muyiwa Adekeye, said government would not “bend to blackmail” from the workers.
He insisted that government would not exclude health workers from donating 25% of their salary to fund the provision of palliatives for low-income, poor and vulnerable persons that are impacted by the lockdown, as done by other public servants.
“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,” he said.
The governor warned striking workers against “criminal action such as attempts to impede access to workplaces, harass willing workers or to sabotage facilities and equipment.”
He described the declaration of strike action amidst the Covid-19 pandemic as naked blackmail.
“The state government will not be misled into granting health workers a special status amongst public servants,” the governor stated.
The statement added; “However, health workers are being paid additional amounts as part of an Occupational Safety Initiative as follows:
“High risk staff are receiving a compensation of N15,000 per day. This refers to all cadres of personnel who are in close contact with Covid-19 patients;
“Medium risk staff are receiving N10,000 per day. These are officers involved in taking samples, transferring patients to treatment centres, tracing contacts etc.;
“These classifications were done by the Emergency Operations Committee on which health professionals, including the NMA, are amply represented.
“The government is also paying a monthly incentive of 10% of net pay to each and every health worker in its hospitals and primary health centres. In addition, the Kaduna State Government has paid premiums for an enhanced insurance package for health workers that raises the death and disability benefits to N5m and N2.5m respectively. The insurance package also includes payment of N100,000 per day for 10 days to health workers who get infected with Covid-19.
“The state government regards the other demands made as mere smokescreens to cover the first one. 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.”