Despite JOHESU’s call, minister expresses govt’s commitment to end health workers’ strike

Prof. Isaac Adewole. Minister of Health
Prof. Isaac Adewole. Minister of Health

Despite calls for his sack by striking health workers, the health minister has expressed the government’s commitment to end the strike.

The health workers, JOHESU, have been on strike for about a month, causing hardship to millions of sick people who use Nigeria’s public hospitals.

They called for Mr Adewole’s sack this week, accusing him of bias and supporting medical doctors who are opposed to the demands of the other health workers.

In a statement on Friday, however, the minister said the federal government has put up a reconciliation processes towards amicable settlement of the trade dispute between it and JOHESU, who comprise all health workers aside from doctors.

According to the statement issued by Boade Akinola, the Director Media and Public Relations of the health ministry, the minister made the remarks in reaction to the order of an interim injunction granted by the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja compelling the striking members of JOHESU to immediately resume duties.

The health workers said on Friday they are yet to get such court order and do not intend to honour it.

Mr Adewole recalled that the government’s side waited for six hours on Thursday for JOHESU’s representatives to continue with the jointly agreed meeting which the union had earlier boycotted.

“Shortly after the adjournment of the boycotted meeting, an official communication titled: Collapse of negotiation between the Federal Government and Joint Health Sector Unions was issued by JOHESU,” he said.

He explained that in the document JOHESU said that negotiation with Federal government had broken down.

The minister, however, maintained that government had not reneged on its commitment to promote peace and harmony in the health sector.

He added that government would continue to engage in continuous dialogue on how to improve the sector.

Mr Adewole, therefore, urged the union to consider the plight of innocent Nigerians in need of health care and return to work while negotiation continues.

He also directed the chief medical directors and medical directors of tertiary hospitals to commence the process of documenting staff as they return to work and update the ministry accordingly.

(NAN)

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