TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE READ BY THE NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT HEALTH SECTOR UNIONS (JOHESU) ON FRIDAY, 20" APRIL 2018, AT THE MEDICAL AND HEALTH WORKERS' UNION OF NIGERIA, NATIONAL SECRETARIAT, AYUBA WABBA HOUSE, DURUMI DISTRICT, ABUJA
The attention of the Joint Health Sector Unions
(JOHESU) has been drawn to a circular letter from the Federal Ministry of Health on the on-going strike by JOHESU members and wish to once again to intimate the general public to the bias, injustice and provocative antics of the Federal ministry of Health, particularly items 1 (iv), (v) and 3 of the said letter, viz;
a. Ensuring attendance register was opened during strike.
b. Enforcement of 'NO WORK NO PAY" policy.
c. Employment of locum staff, respectively.
While JOHESU is not averse to the protection of government properties, we wish to reiterate that whenever the Medical and Dental Practitioners were on strike no such rules as churned out in the circular are always enforced.
We wish to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and the general public to the discriminatory, suppressive, and oppressive attitude of the drivers of the health sector to all health workers other than Medical Doctors in managing health care delivery in Nigeria.
It is on record that patients are always hurriedly discharged and diverted to their private clinics whenever Medical Doctors are on strike and thereby preventing other health workers from performing their duties and nothing like locum doctors employed to serve the public nor registers opened to enforce compliance; while the policy of "NO WORK NO PAY'. has never been applied to the strike mongers who call themselves Medical Doctors.
Our attention has equally been drawn to an egoistic and self serving Press Conference by the leadership of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) where they branded JOHESU an illegal body which should not be listened to by government and the general public.
It is indeed fool hardy for NMA to go to town with such fallacy when JOHESU, a conglomerate of five duly registered and recognized trade unions by law and has all rights and privileges to negotiate for the welfare of its mernbers, is being described as illegal.
It is the case of a blind group of people, who know nothing about Trade Unionism/Industrial Relations practice, that wants to mislead the public on which is a legal or illegal Trade Union.
For the avoidance of doubt, JOHESU is comprised of five duly registered Trade Unions via;
3. Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI)
5. Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU).
While these unions have rights to go on strike collectively or separately, NMA and ARD have no such rights but they behave as Trade Unions and enjoy recognition and patronage of the Federal Ministry of Health and sit with government to negotiate for their members under the watchful eyes of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment just because the Minister of Labour, who should be an arbiter but chooses to close his eyes to such illegality, is himself a Medical Doctor.
We call on our members nationwide to disregard all forms of threat or intimidation from government and ensure that services are withdrawn until our demands are met.
We call on government to ensure equity and justice in the health sector instead of putting the health of Nigerians in jeopardy by resolving the issues on the table rather than churning out threatening circulars on registers, locum and "NO WORK NO PAY" that have no universal application, as a diversionary tactics.
We want the public to know that what is playing out appears to be a situation where NMA and ARD, on one hand, and government, on the other, have gone into an unholy alliance to fight against other health workers rights, even in a situation where doctors and other health workers remain the employees of the same government.
We implore govemment to make every efforts to make the strike short lived, in the interest of the poor and vulnerable Nigerians and not engage in activities that will further infuriate health workers and exacerbate an already bad situation.
We have already directed other health workers in the states and Local Governments to mobilize and join in the strike action, nationwide, if government allows it to linger for the next two weeks, from the beginning of the strike which started 12 midnight of Tuesday, 17th April, 2018.
When that happens, the government should be held responsible and not JOHESU Leadership
Com. Biobelemo Josiah National Chair(JOHESU)
Com. Florence Ekpebor National Secretary (J0HESU)
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