Liberian Healthcare Workers Plan Strike To Demand Ebola Hazard Pay

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

From Reuters

Liberian healthcare workers still plan to stage a go-slow, or work slowdown, to press demands for hazard pay on the front line of the Ebola epidemic, a union leader said on Monday.

The protest, announced last week, would come despite a plea from the U.N. health agency that the workers avoid industrial action.

Nearly 2,000 people have died from Ebola in Liberia out of at least 3,696 infected. The West African state is at the centre of an epidemic that has killed more than 3,400 people there and in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The hemorrhagic virus has also taken a heavy toll on health workers and this has galvanized the National Health Workers Association of Liberia, said its secretary general George Williams.

“Let the government revisit health workers’ wages and allowances and make sure that they have insurance that is appropriate and proper,” he told Reuters, adding that the go-slow would begin on Friday unless union demands were met.

“Health workers have made up their minds. Some of these things have been on the table since April. The demands have to be met,” he said. The union represents thousands of workers, though it was unclear if all would heed its call to action.

Earlier, the representative of the World Health Organisation in Liberia, Peter Graaff, said it was crucial that the workers did not undermine efforts to combat Ebola.

“My appeal to all the health workers is that you have been so brave to go and work in the ETU’s (Ebola Treatment Units). This is not the moment to compromise all that you have achieved,” Graaff told a news conference.

Read more at Reuters