Amidst planned nationwide strike action by health care workers for delay in payment of salaries, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has indicated that the government of Liberia is faced with a serious financial situation for which they (health workers) must consider and abandon the intended strike action.
Addressing a news conference in Monrovia, Jonathan M. Hart, spokesman of the aggrieved health care workers and a resident of the Liberia Post Graduate School Department of Surgery mentioned that health workers are yet to receive salaries for the past three months. Hart narrated that “over the last fifteen months the government of Liberia has made the payment of health care workers salaries very irregular. And they have begun a system that every three months we get our salaries in bits and pieces”. “Since September we have not received pay, therefore we have signed a general resolution from our meetings and given the government seventy two hours ultimatum to make delivery of our arrears beginning Tuesday November 15, 2016, or we will take a strike action and it is expected to began on Friday,” he said. “We will gather at the National Legislature and the Foreign Ministry to make known our plight so, we want all stakeholders to get involved in our issues and ensure that our salaries are regularized or we will take the strike,” he continued. In response to the doctor’s plight, the Liberian leader indicated that recent delays in payments reflect the need to make changes in the currency of payment, in reflection of the serious financial situation in the country. “Cabinet discussions have centered on the need to improve the salaries and benefits of doctors particularly those who are specialists to provide better incentive for their valuable service,” President Sirleaf indicated. “In 2006 in the start of the Administration, the salary and benefits of Doctors was $70.00, or its equivalent in local currency, with several delays in monthly payments. Working conditions left much to be desired. Today the salary and benefits average US$4,000.00 for Doctors and US$1,500.00 for Government sponsored interns with on time monthly payments and improved working conditions, she intoned, while appealing to the doctors to show patience and patriotism by continuing service. “I thank everyone who have ongoing consultation with them and I ask that they meet with me on my return to the country,” Madam Sirleaf said.