Health workers to begin strike two months after doctors’ industrial action

SERVICES may be entirely unavailable in public hospitals across Nigeria effective this weekend as the Joint Health Sector Unions’ (JOHESU) strike notice expires on October 2.

The group, which comprises all professionals working in hospitals, except doctors, said it was not a strike monger but only wanted the government to meet its demands.

JOHESU has issued a strike warning notice to the Nigerian government three times this month, and the third expires by midnight on Saturday.

Coincidentally, the strike may come two months after the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) began an industrial action and have since refused to return to work over unmet demands by the government.

Several meetings and threats, including court orders directing NARD to return to work, have fallen on deaf ears.

JOHESU members have supported consultant doctors who have been providing skeletal services to patients since NARD, whose members constitute the majority of hospital doctors, embarked on strike.

Meanwhile, the strike crisis has continued as the country battles COVID-19 and other infectious and non-infectious ailments.

In its latest notice to the government, signed by the National Chairman of the association Biobelemoye Josiah, JOHESU urged the government to respect the agreements it reached with its members earlier this month.

“We also wish to inform the general public that our NEC noted the appeal from President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to show understanding with his administration and the President’s pledge to pay any debt owed health workers,” part of the statement read.

The workers called on the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure speedy circularisation of all establishment and welfare matters as agreed during negotiation meetings with the government.

They also demanded that the Federal Government complete the new data for the computation of the adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for their members and submit same to the ‘High-Level Body’ (HLB) of the government, not later than September 22, ‘as agreed.’

They appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that the ‘High-Level Body’ completed and submitted the computation of the adjusted CONHESS for inclusion in the 2022 budget on or before September 30.

“We charged the Federal Government to reciprocate the patriotic humanitarian gesture of JOHESU in the interest of the larger Nigerian masses to resolve all the demands within the fifteen days window expeditiously.”

The group had stepped down its first notice of strike, which expired on September 17 and issued a new 15-day warning notice.

Author: Marcus FATUNMOLE

[Courtesy: International Centre for Investigative Reporting]

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