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Nationwide strike: Health workers to ground sector tomorrow

Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, yesterday, threatened to embark on a nationwide strike, following the federal government’s failure to implement the agreement reached with it in September, 2017.
Its National Chairman, Josiah Biobelemoye, while lamenting what he described as the preferential treatment given to some unions in the health sector at the expense of others, directed its members to withdraw their services from federal medical facilities nationwide as from midnight of Tuesday, April 17.
“JOHESU hereby directs its members in federal health institutions all over the country to commence the strike immediately (midnight of Tuesday, April 17) unfailingly.
“States and local government health institutions are by this placed on red alert and are to continue intense sensitization and mobilization of our members for possible entry into the fray if government foot drags in attending to our demands,” he said.
According to Biobelemoye, the demands put forward to government include the upward adjustment of CONHESS salary scale, arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10 and employment of additional health professionals, implementation of court judgments and upward review of the retirement age from 60 to 65.
He noted that the union suspended its last nationwide strike on September 30, 2017 after signing a Memorandum of Terms of Settlement, MOTS, with the federal government.
According to him, the MOTS ought to be implemented within five weeks after the date of suspension of the strike.
Expressing displeasure with the manner that the Federal Ministry of Health treated their demands, Biobelemoye said it took the government 15 days from September 6 to 21 to adjust CONMESS for some grades in the doctors’ cadre whereas theirs has been ignored despite several agreements.
He noted that the union had on February 5 given a fresh 21-day ultimatum to enable government meet the agreement reached which it still reneged on.
“We entered into an agreement with them on September 30, 2017 and this led to the suspension of our previous strike.”
Biobelemoye, who described the union members as peace lovers, emphasised that the 45 days was given simply because the union has the interest of the masses at heart.
“It is disheartening to note that after six months of the suspension of our last strike and still counting, the federal government has not done anything tangible over the pending issues, especially on the flagship issue of CONHESS adjustment and payment of arrears of CONHESS 10.
“JOHESU as a mature and responsible organisation gave a 21-day notice on February 5 to enable the federal government do the needful.
“At the expiration of the notice, the leadership reconvened to re-appraise the situation on ground and noted the lackadaisical attitude of government toward the implementation of the Memorandum of Terms of Settlement signed on September 30.
“On April 5, the minister of labour and employment invited the leadership of JOHESU for a meeting wherein we were told that our issues are still being looked into, this shows that government is taking JOHESU for a ride,’’ he said.
He also called on well-meaning Nigerians including traditional leaders, elder statesmen, opinion leaders and the general public to prevail on government to implement MOTS entered into with JOHESU on September 30.
Biobelemoye explained that JOHESU members are not clamouring for equality with doctors, but equity and justice, advising doctors and the Federal Ministry of Health to change their perception of the demands.

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This post was syndicated from Nigerian Pilot News. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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