The Sierra Leone Police has summoned medical doctors for a meeting amidst a weeklong paralyzing industrial strike action.
A letter from the office of the Inspector General of Police, addressed to the leadership of the striking doctors and the head of the Office of National Security, indicated that the meeting was scheduled for Thursday morning.
The development comes as the country enters the second week of the strike action which began with the Junior Doctors Association at the beginning of the month.
The doctors who are seeking increment in pay and favourable working condition, earlier this week accused the government of intimidation in its effort to get them end the strike.
The strike action began on December 4, initiated by the junior doctors and later endorsed by their senior colleagues, under the umbrella body of the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Council.
The doctors want their salaries increased and their working conditions improved. Currently, doctors get an average of US$400 a month.
In a statement issued earlier in November, the striking doctors also cited, among others, shortage of critical medications and equipment, like oxygen, which they say hinder their efforts to treat patients.
Several rounds of negations have failed to convince the striking doctors to end their action.
The government has said it has set up a salaries and wages Commission and it wants a review of the pay scale across the board, in the context of the recently approved national budget, rather than for individual sectors.
Health Minister Dr. Alpha Wurie in a radio interview on Tuesday urged the doctors to resume work while negotiations continue. He also insisted that many of the demands of the striking doctors relating to their working condition were already being implemented by the new government.
The police’s letter, which was leaked on social media, warned that the stalemate has a potential impact on national security. Some ordinary Sierra Leoneans have questioned the motive of the police.