The Sun News

Health workers shut down hospitals nationwide

•Direct states, LGs to join national strike

The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has instructed health workers in states and local governments to join the nationwide strike by midnight on Wednesday.

JOHESU National Chairman, Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, made this known to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.

Josiah said the association and the Federal Government have been unable to resolve the issues that resulted in the industrial action.
JOHESU had announced a nationwide indefinite strike on April 17, citing the government’s refusal to meet its demands.

The union’s demands include upward adjustment of CONHESS Salary Scale, arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10 and employment of additional health professionals, implementation of court judgments and upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years.

JOHESU draws its membership from the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Medical and Health Workers Union, and Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals.

Others include Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals and Non-academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutes.

Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, recently said JOHESU’s demand, to earn the same salary as doctors, is neither practicable nor acceptable.
But, Josiah, has accused the minister of working against the efforts of all stakeholders to end the strike.

The workers embarked on a fresh strike, recently, after several dialogue with the government, regarding their welfare and other issues, collapsed.

The JOHESU chairman alleged that the minister is bent on thwarting all efforts at reaching an amicable settlement on workers’ demands, especially the upward adjustment of CONHESS salary structure, in spite of superior argument at the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

He added: “We must raise the alarm that the preferential treatment given to medical doctors has remained the major albatross to peaceful co-existence of health practitioners in the health sector in Nigeria.

“Government has not shown seriousness to meet our demands and the existence of fifth columnists in and out of government, who are bent on prolonging the strike for their selfish interest, which is privatisation of government hospitals.

“Our core demand is the upward review of CONHESS salary structure as agreed in the agreement. We will withdraw our services nationwide; until positive communication is received from the (federal) government.”

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