A human rights group, Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) says it is in support of the joint warning strike of health workers unions and associations in Kaduna state to demand improved working conditions.
This newspaper recalled that the health workers in the state on Sunday commenced a 7-day warning strike over issues that were yet to be resolved between them and the state government.
The health workers, via a communiqué signed by Danjuma Sale, Chairman MDCAN BDTH, Emmanuel Joseph, President ARD Kaduna, Ibrahim Abashe, 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.
Meanwhile, in a statement signed by its Chairperson, Rufus Olusesan, CDWR commended the united strike and urge that the unions and associations involved not to relent until all demands are met.
“Should the 7-day expire without any serious and concrete effort by the state government to meet the demands, it should be escalated to a full-blown strike with the active solidarity and support of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC).
“This is important to teach the rabidly anti-worker government of Kaduna state led by Mallam El-Rufai a lesson.
“In the same vein, we condemn the threat of the Kaduna State Governor Mallam El-Rufai to the striking health workers. Instead of issuing threats, the State government should immediately meet the workers’ demands in order to prevent a situation where frontline health workers would be forced to withdraw their services in the midst of a pandemic.”
Also, the group demanded that no health worker should be victimised for participating in the strike.
“We recall that in October 2017, El-Rufai-led government and the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) Kaduna branch had mutually agreed to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) of salary adjustment and other things at a meeting brokered by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) with a timeline of implementation.
“While the Association of Resident Doctors had kept to its own side of the bargain, Mallam El-Rufai-led government is yet to implement its own side of the bargain despite reminders and lobbying by resident doctors. The action of the Kaduna State government is insensitive to the plight of the doctors and also to the plight of the people of the state, who are also battling with a COVID 19 pandemic.”\
“If we recall that on November 25, 2019 the Association of Resident Doctors agreed to give government of Kaduna state 3 months to implement the agreement but the government of Mallam El-Rufai also failed to implement its own side of the bargain but the government asked for an extension on February 27, 2020, to March 3, 2020, which was agreed to by the Resident Doctors.
“After the expiration of this date, the Resident Doctors agreed to embark on strike action on March 10, 2020, but decided to suspend the strike action. This only implies that the Kaduna State Government does not care about the welfare of workers. We commend the doctors and other striking health care workers for their steadfastness.
“The Kaduna State Government should be blamed for the strike action considering the fact that the healthcare workers have exercised enough patience and have tolerated the insensitivity and insincerity of the government for too long,” the statement partly read.