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Liberian Health Workers End Ebola Wage Strike

FILE - Liberians stage a protest outside the National Assembly against the government not doing enough to fight Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Oct. 9, 2014.

Liberian health workers have ended their two-day old strike over demands for higher pay for taking care of Ebola patients.

Joseph Tamba, president of the National Health Workers Association, said they ended the strike Tuesday after receiving appeals from Liberians and the international community.

Tamba said the health workers did not want to be responsible for deaths of more Liberians.

“The strike is over, according to all the health workers of the Republic of Liberia. Our concern is the people of Liberia. We do not want the people in Liberia to be at risk. Because of this, all the health workers, we met today and we decided that we are going to cut off the ‘go-slow’ to listen to the international community to see how best they can come in and try to provide better incentives for the health workers of the Republic of Liberia,” Tamba said.

Tamba said the strike being called off was not because the Minister of Health had threatened the workers with dismissal.

“The minister is a Liberian and we are Liberians. We know the minister’s term will be finished. We are health workers. We cannot hold Liberians hostage because of our disagreement with the minister,” Tamba said.

Tamba said he’s in hiding because the internal affairs minister has ordered his arrest for inciting workers to strike.

“I am on the run because the Internal Affairs minister has given orders to police to find me anywhere and arrest me. And, I do not want to be arrested because I do not know the orders they give the police,” he said.

Tamba said he will not return to Monrovia, even with the strike ended.

VOA made several attempts to reach Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly and Information Minister Lewis Brown for comment. But, another government official, who did not want to be identified, suggested to VOA Tamba should not be interviewed he is claiming persecution to get asylum abroad.

The workers said they were promised a monthly wage of US $750 for nurses and lab technicians, and US $500 for others, but they have received about one-third less.