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Health Workers at Liberia’s Biggest Referral Hospital Threaten Strike Due to Salary Reduction

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Monrovia – Health Workers at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia, Liberia’s main referral hospital, have threatened a major strike against the reduction of their salaries. 

They have also threatened to mobilize other health practitioners across the country if the deduction is not reimbursed.

Some of the health workers, who spoke with FrontPageAfrica over the weekend on condition of anonymity, said there was a “huge cut” in their Liberian dollar salary for the month of August without prior notice.

“If there is no redress to this matter, nurses and doctors working at JFK will stay away from wok until our monies are repaid,” one of the health workers said.

“You can touch other health workers, but when you touch one health worker, you will be touching all and we are working overtime and yet still they are reducing the little amount we are getting.”

The decision to embark on the go-slow was reached in a meeting held last week.

According to them, their salaries were reduced to more than half after receiving a text message on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

The health workers, who are mostly nurses, said they were disappointed because, the reduction came as a surprise and tend to imposed huge financial burden on them.

“We previously intended to strike the next day, but we were advised by the workers association head to wait until our US Dollars salary can come. If we observe that nothing is added, we will stay away from work,” another health worker said.

“Government said it was going to harmonize salary, if so, health workers supposed to receive increment rather than reduction, because we are working overtime.”

They have given government up to Wednesday, September 11, 2019 to give their US Dollars portion of the salary along with the amount they claimed was taken from their Liberian dollar salary.

The reduction of the health workers salary comes in the wake of ongoing salary harmonization by the government.

Government has said that the salary harmonization is intended to give public servants just benefits in line with the work they do. 

But the aggrieved health workers are arguing that the government’s promise to increase their salary is contradictory.

At the inception of the George Weah’s administration, the Senate Committee Chair on Health flagged that there were too many ghost names on the government’s payroll thereby creating hitches for health worker to receive just benefit.

Senator Peter Coleman then called for the cleaning up of the payroll in order to create room for improving health workers’ salary.

At the same time, the House of Representatives’ Committee Chair on Health by then, Saah Joseph – now Senator of Montserrado County – also emphasized the need for improving health workers salaries.

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