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Another strike looms in health sector, as unions give Nigerian govt 15-day ultimatum

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The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Association have issued the Federal Government a 15-day ultimatum over the commencement of an indefinite strike due to outstanding welfare issues with the union.

This was contained in a letter issued on Saturday by the JOHESU National President, Biobelemonye Josiah, JOHESU’s National President, to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, and other relevant stakeholders in Abuja.

JOHESU, in compliance with the provision of Section 41 of the Trade Disputes Act Cap.T8 LFN 2004, is constrained to give the Federal Government of Nigeria 15 days ultimatum with effect from September 3.

”This also is to inform you that with effect from midnight of September 17, all our members in the Federal Health Institutions shall embark on an indefinite strike action in all state and Local Government health institutions.

”You are all placed on red alert for the strike, if the Federal Government foot drags in attending to our demands,” he said.

Josiah said that the 15-day ultimatum was necessitated by the non-challant attitude of the government to the plight of its members.

According to JOHESU, the issues include:

  • Adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHES) as was done with Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) since 2014,
  • Payment of all withheld April and May 2018 Salaries of our members and withheld Salaries in Federal Medical Center,  Owerri, JUTH, and LUTH,
  • Review of the defective implementation of COVID-19 Special Inducement and Hazard Allowance,
  • Implementation of National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Consent judgment and other court judgments,
  • Increase in the retirement age from 60 to 65 years for health workers and 70 years for Consultant Health Professionals.

The JOHESU president also said others include payment of outstanding salaries of intern health professionals and all the Tertiary Health Institutions, proper implementation of the consultant pharmacist cadre for pharmacists in the public sector, among others.

Read also: Buhari’s preference for foreign medicare not lack of trust in Nigeria’s health sector – Lai Mohammed

According to him, “you will recall that up till the time of writing this letter, the Federal Government has not deemed it fit to honour the Terms of Settlement entered into with JOHESU since September 2017.

”This is especially the upward review of CONHESS Salary Structure as agreed, to be completed within five weeks from the date of agreement amongst other requests.

”Government did not deem it fit to address these key issues during the duration of the last seven days warning strike and has only met with JOHESU on July 12,” he said.

Josiah said that it would also be recalled that on July 2020, that the Minister of Health agreed that a mistake was made by the government in the payment of COVID-19 Special Inducement and Hazard Allowances.

“This is in contravention of the spirit and content of the MoU signed on April 21, 2020,” the letter reads.

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