Medical workers begin nationwide strike Monday

• Clamour for Keyamo to lead FG negotiating team; reject Ngige, Ehanire

All medical workers, under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Health Professionals (JOHESU), will begin a nationwide strike on Monday next week.

JOHESU said if the Federal Government failed to meet its demands by the midnight of Sunday, it would have no option than to commence a seven-day industrial strike.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the Chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Josiah Biobelemoye, said: “It becomes imperative to inform you that if the FG does not meet these demands by mid-night of September 13, 2020, JOHESU will have no other choice than to commence a nationwide 7-days warning strike of our members in all the Federal Health Institutions (FHIs).

“The States and LG Health Institutions are placed on red alert for possible entry into the fray if the FG foot-drags in attending to our demands.”

JOHESU, however, called on the Federal Government to make the Minister of State for Labour, Barr. Festus Keyamo, to lead the government team to address their grievances. The health workers rejected the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, and the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, because of their bias and vested interest to align with the NMA.

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“We solicit that the FG should mandate the Hon Minister of State for Labour, Barr. Festus Keyamo, SAN to lead the FG negotiation team to redress the grievances of JOHESU, just like Late Barr. James Ocholi was mandated to do in 2016 before he passed away,” Biobelemoye said.

He added: “it has become too obvious that Dr Chris Ngige has not been able to live up to the status of an ideal arbiter because of his background as a Medical Doctor who has a vested interest to align with the NMA position because he remains a committed member of the professional body.”

According to him: “JOHESU calls on Government to expedite action to ameliorate the pains of the citizenry generally while specifically improving on gadgetry, equipment and so on in the Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) for optimal outcomes or derivable.

On the outstanding welfare packages for JOHESU members, he said: “It has become imperative that the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) formally draws the attention of Nigerians to some outstanding welfare packages for its members. We find it particularly worrisome that some of these demands, which are specific Court Judgments, Collective Bargaining Agreements and MoUs have been treated with levity and outrightly violated for almost a decade in some instances.”

Biobelemoye pointed out that the lingering welfare challenges of their members include the review of the implementation of COVID-19 Special Inducement and Hazard Allowance; Payment of All Withheld salaries of members at JUTH, FMC Owerri, LUTH, which include April and May 2018 salaries; Adjustment of CONHESS salary structure, and implementation of ADR consent judgment.

JOHESU specifically demands that the Federal Ministry of Health be compelled to immediately set up the reflected structures in line with the National Industrial Court judgement.

It further demanded that the Federal Government, States and Local Government Areas must come-up with COVID-19 palliatives to the citizenry while improving service delivery and remedial measures to combat failing and decaying infrastructural facilities.

Comrade Biobelemoye asked for immediate payment of the shortfall in the COVID-19 allowances of non-clinical staff in the federal health institutions presently pegged at 10 per cent to the agreed 50 per cent of basic salaries paid all clinical staff.

States and Local Governments that have not domesticated the COVID-19 allowances for their clinical and non-clinical health workers are also advised by the contents of the agreement to do so without further delay in order to avoid break down of industrial harmony in their health sector.

He called for unconditional payment of all withheld salaries at Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, JUTH, LUTH and the compliments of April and May 2018 salaries “which were vindictively authorised by the wicked and malicious Prof. Isaac Adewole administration at the FMoH.”

He also urged all states and local governments to unconditionally pay all outstanding salaries and called on states to conclude minimum wage negotiations and implementation.

The JOHESU chairman said: “The Presidency must insist in tandem with the rule of law that the FMoH must adhere to and obey all the dictates of the consent judgement of the NICN as delivered on March 19, 2019.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Medical workers begin nationwide strike

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