Health workers threaten strike next week

Health workers threaten strike next week

According to reports, the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Health Care Professionals says it will begin a nationwide strike next week Wednesday.

The unions said the planned action was due to the government’s failure to meet their demands and had issued a seven-day ultimatum to that effect.

JOHESU National Chairman, Mr Biobelemoye Josiah, gave the ultimatum during a briefing, in Abuja, yesterday.

The demands include payment of arrears of specialist allowances and upgrade of their members due for promotion.

JOHESU tagged the planned action ‘Operation Alligator Bite’, and said it would be more severe than ‘Operation Python Dance’ the Nigerian Army launched in the South-east.

The threat is coming a few days after resident doctors’ embarked on strike. The government negotiated with the leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), with a resolution to meet some of their demands.

Regardless, Josiah said on May 10, 2012, agreements were reached between the Federal Government and the unions, that issues which were not agreed upon were referred to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

“We are, therefore, left with no option than to give a final seven days ultimatum with effect from Thursday September 14, 2017 and if, by the midnight of Wednesday, September 20, 2017, our demands are not met.

“All our members nationwide would be called upon to embark on indefinite strike, ‘’he said.

He added that the unions demands from the federal government includes adjustment of CONHESS salary as done for CONMESS since 2014, and abolition of scale to scale promotion, and that others are payment of outstanding arrears of promotion, skipping and relativity, autonomy of teaching and specialist hospitals in the country among other issues.

Others yet to be implemented are implementation of court judgments, review of retirement age from 60-65 years as done for the tertiary education sector.

He said that the issue of autonomy for teaching and specialist hospitals in the country as it affect service delivery to the citizens was partly responsible for the media tourism being witnessed in the country.

Meanwhile, a meeting of executives of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) was deadlocked.

The meeting was called to review government’s offers to the striking doctors with a view to call off the strike.

The meeting, which started at 11:00pm on Tuesday, in Abuja, reportedly ended at 7:00am, yesterday. It was gathered that, at the meeting, while some doctors wanted the strike suspended, after the federal government had paid some of their arrears into the accounts of respective hospitals, others wanted it to continue until the federal government meets all their demands.

After the break, president of the association reportedly left the venue for the Health Ministry to get a guarantee letter that could influence their decision. The strike, which commenced last week, crippled activities at public hospitals across Nigeria.

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