Tuesday, October 14, 2014 9:16 pm
Liberian health workers late Tuesday ended a two-day strike to secure risk pay for Ebola, saying they put the needs of their endangered country first following global appeals to end the protest.
“We are putting an end to the strike first for the love we have for our people, and also because we received calls from everywhere in the world from people asking us to put an end to the strike,” George Williams, secretary general of the National workers union of Liberia told AFP.
The workers called off the strike after the government threatened to sack them.
“”Those who stay home in respect of the order given by the health workers union will be replaced and will never come back to work,” Health Minister Walter Gwenigale said on state radio.
The labour action began last week with a go-slow at Monrovia’s Island Clinic, whose Ebola treatment unit (ETU) has been overwhelmed since it opened on September 21 with support from the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
The strike then expanded to other ETUs on Monday and again Tuesday, though reliable figures on the stayaway rate were unavailable.
The local office of the WHO said one-third of Island Clinic staff were not at work.
“WHO is very concerned for the safety and well-being of the Ebola patients, and urges the health workers to continue with their work,” the office said in an email.
“”One of the possible consequences of the strike is that there can be less health workers working at the ETUs. This means that there is more pressure on the ones that are working to take care of the Ebola patients. Therefore, risks for making mistakes are higher, which is a concern to us.”