Even as the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party continues to make lots of ‘vuvuzela’ noises on their achievements, workers in certain Ministries, including those of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation through the Health Services Workers’ Union (SLHSWU) have expressed total disappointment over what the described as the willful attempt by the APC party to exclude some important category of health workers in that ministry such as Nursing Aides, Porters, Securities, Drivers, Clerks, Cleaners, and Laborers from the recommended pay package. This has reportedly enraged Union members who have vowed to stage a strike action for their disadvantaged membership on the 1st of November next month if their demands are not met by government.
This information was relayed the Union’s Secretary General, Mr. Ansu Rashid Kalokoh in an exclusive telephone interview with our reporter on Wednesday 6th October 2010. According to Mr. Kalokoh it has been a unanimous agreement between the National Executive Council and membership of the Sierra Leone Health Services Workers’ Union to commence a strike action in November this year if government fails to meet their demands. He said the deprived workers are also an integral part of the entire workforce of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, adding that their various roles and contributions in the health sector is equally of vital importance, especially with the free health care initiative.
He said in order to maintain the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, the union is of firm opinion that the said workers deserve to have fair share of the pay package given to other colleagues in the ministry.
The embittered Kalokoh disclosed that recently in a meeting with Vice President Sam-Sumana as the Acting Minister of Health and Sanitation, he promised to look into the issue but that to date nothing has come out of that promise.
“We are getting very serious pressure from our membership to address their plight with threat to withhold their services if government fails to include them into the pay package for October,” he advanced, adding that when they decided to return to work after the March strike action, they did so out of patriotic consideration.
He ended by calling on government to speedily address the problem and not to take their patriotism to mean weakness in pursuing their legitimate demands. He said the grievances that prompted the March strike notice were never fully addressed.
“Issues of rain gears, uniforms and protective clothing amongst others have never been met," Kalokoh told Awareness Times yesterday.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.