Health workers in Kaduna State have commenced a seven-day warning strike to protest against the state government’s 25 per cent deduction from their salaries.

The over 11,000 health workers under the aegis of the Kaduna State Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) said the government action violates the provision of the Labour Act.

In a Communiqué signed by the President of Kaduna branch of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Dr. Emmanuel Joseph; Kaduna Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (MMA), Dr. Stephen Akau Kache and 12 other unions, the health workers denied their action as a blackmail against the state and accused the administration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of only paying lip service to the fight the coronavirus.

The health workers said, “Kaduna State government deducted 25 per cent of the salaries from about 11, 000 of healthcare workers in the midst of COVID-19 (April and May). This action was done in violation of Section 5 of the Labour Act.

“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 incentive 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.