The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has directed its members to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from Thursday, 25 May (today).
The National Vice President of JOHESU, Obinna Ogbonna, made this known at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
Mr Ogbonna said the union had in a letter dated 9 May, issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Nigerian government over an allegation of “inconsistencies in the ongoing negotiations to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for health workers.”
He said the ultimatum commenced on 10 May and would expire at midnight on Thursday, 25 May.
“Consequent upon the nonchalant, biased, and lackadaisical attitude of the Ministry of Health against JOHESU members and the resolution of the expanded National Executive Council meeting of the JOHESU held on Monday, 8 May, our members in federal health institutions nationwide are hereby directed to withdraw their services indefinitely commencing from 00:00 hour on Thursday, 25 May.”
JOHESU is the association of health workers apart from medical doctors and dentists.
JOHESU covers health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, and Associated Institutions, and Assembly of Health Care Professional Association (AHPA).
The health workers are demanding the immediate approval and implementation of the technical committee report on CONHESS adjustment by the government.
They are also demanding the immediate payment of the omission and shortfall in the COVID-19 hazard/inducement allowances of affected health workers in federal health institutions.
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Other demands are “the immediate and unconditional implementation of the pharmacist consultant cadre, unconditional payment of all withheld salaries of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital, and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and outstanding April and May 2018 salaries of members at FMC, Azare.”
The union also calls for the speedy Implementation of the increase in retirement age from 60 to 65 years and 70 years for consultants in the health professions.
The vice president, Mr Ogbonna said the union is committed to working with the government and stakeholders to improve the health system with necessary reforms in public interest.
Health workers strike
The health workers strike is coming barely four days after doctors under the umbrella of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) ended its five-day warning strike.
The doctors, just like the health workers are demanding improved welfare and payment of all salary arrears.
The association ended the strike on Monday with plans to review the government’s efforts in resolving the issues in the next two weeks.
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