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Nigerian Health Workers Strike Over Poor Pay

by Tanya Thomas on July 22, 2008 at 9:33 AM
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 Nigerian Health Workers Strike Over Poor Pay

Nigerian health workers have decided to raise awareness on long-standing issues like their poor remuneration and inadequate health care facilities. They will begin an open-ended strike this week, joining primary and secondary teachers whose own strike has entered a third week, officials said Monday.

Health workers, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists, said the strike would start on Wednesday to protest against poor pay and lack of adequate facilities in the country's hospitals, according to a joint statement.

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The health workers are also protesting the non-replacement of the two ministers that were dismissed by the government over corruption charges in April.

"The unions observe that since the minister and minister of state of health resigned, there have not been other substantive ministers to run the ministry," they said.
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They said health and medical work would be halted throughout the country unless the government meets their demands, adding that a warning of the strike issued on July 8 had been ignored by the government.

The health workers strike comes in the wake of a three-week-old strike by teachers in the country.

The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) launched a full-scale strike on June 30 to push the government to honor an agreement on an enhanced pay structure.

The teachers had earlier gone on a three-day strike, shutting down primary and secondary schools, but suspended the action after the government pledged to improve pay.

Teaching is among the worst paid professions in the oil-rich country and the unions are demanding that the government start the new pay package immediately.

The Nigerian government said it would pay the new salary to teachers in federally run schools, but it could not compel state and local government authorities to pay the enhanced rate in schools set by them.

Source: AFP
TAN/M
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