The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) says it has directed its counterparts in the states and local governments to join the ongoing health workers strike by today (Wednesday) midnight.
Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, the national chairman of JOHESU who disclosed this during a press briefing Wednesday in Abuja, said the association made the decision because a series of meetings with the government to resolve the crisis had not yielded any positive result.
JOHESU, an association of all health workers except doctors, has been on strike for three weeks now.
As a result, laboratories have been shut with no technicians and technologists to run them, and there are also no staff to collect patients’ records,too.
Patients’ are worst hit as nurses and midwives — some of the most influential members of JOHESU — have all downed tools in all federal health institutions.
Though activities at federal hospitals across the country have been crippled, the striking union had repeatedly vowed to press their state and local government counterparts to join, to bring maximum pressure on the federal government to meet their demands.
Their demands include salary adjustments among others.
JOHESU announced the indefinite on April 16, saying it would paralyse activities in all health institutions across the country.
“All federal government health institutions in Nigeria including federal medical centres, specialists’ hospitals, orthopedic hospitals, psychiatric hospitals among others will be the first to shut down. If the government allows the strike to continue after two weeks, all the states and local government health institutions will now join,” the National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Ogbonna Chimela, told PREMIUM TIMES.
JOHESU had embarked on a nationwide strike last September to protest among other issues, salary adjustments, promotion arrears, and improved work environment for its members.
On the ninth day of the strike, JOHESU struck a deal with government.
According to the union, six months after the deal was struck, the government is yet to meet any of its demands.
Last month, the union further gave the government a 30 days ultimatum.
“Before now we gave the government 21 working days as an ultimatum. Last month, we also threatened to go on strike after 30 working days which will expire tomorrow (Tuesday) and government have not really done anything tangible.
“They only invited us on the 5th of April told us that our issues are being looked into as usual without any concrete effort on how they are planning to meet our demand. So our National Executive Council (NEC) met in Abuja and appraised the situation and we resolved to continue with the strike, no going back”, the union leader said.
He said the agreement the union had with the government on September 30, 2017 was that their demands would be met in five weeks.
“That five weeks has metamorphosed to six months and still counting,” the official said.