ABUJA – Health workers and other professionals in the health sector, under the auspices of Joint Heath Sector Unions, JOHESU, yesterday declared an indefinite nationwide strike after their meeting with the Federal Government ended in a deadlock in Abuja.
Addressing newsmen after rising from the failed meeting, the National Coordinator of JOHESU, Comrade Faniran Felix Olukayode, who is also the National President of NUPMTPAM, directed members of the unions to begin immediate strike.
Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, MHWUN, JOHESU and Federal Government representatives, led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mrs. Fatimo Bamidele, could not reach an agreement during the meeting.
Those proceeding on strike include members of MHWUN, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives; Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions , SSAUTHRAI; Nigeria Union of Pharmacist, Medical Technologists and Professions Allied to Medicine, NUPMTPAM, and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU.
Speaking on behalf of the unions, Olukayode declared that after the meeting with the Federal Government yesterday, there is need to go ahead with the strike having earlier issued a 15-day ultimatum before the meeting.
According to him, “We are hereby informing the good people of Nigeria that having presented our demands to the Federal Government through various Health Ministers since 1980 and especially the past three years without any serious commitment to meet them, we have no other option other than to embark on an indefinite strike to press home our demands as a last resort.
“However, we sincerely apologize to the members of the public who are likely to be hurt by this action. It is due to circumstances beyond our control.”
The issues in contention according to the JOHESU National Coordinator are non-skipping of salary CONHESS 10; National Health Bill; Presidential Committee report on harmony in the health sector; promotion of health professionals from CONHESS 14 to 15; consultancy and specialist allowance and call/shift and other professional allowances.
Others are request for implementation of 2008 job evaluation committee report; re-constitution of board of managements of teaching and other tertiary hospitals; need for review of retirement ages and appointment of ministers of health.
Comrade Olukayode however, stated that the unions are still open to dialogue, adding that if the Federal Government invites them and consider their demands they are ready to meet them.
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