JOHESU Strike: Deadlock as Nigerian govt, health unions fail to agree

Medical Doctors (health workers) attending to patients used to illustrate the story health
Doctors attending to patients used to illustrate the story

The meeting between the federal government and striking members of the Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, which held between Tuesday and Wednesday has failed to resolve the crisis.

The leaders of various unions who convened at the meeting held in Abuja to review the negotiation between the parties did not concede to the appeal made by federal government’s negotiation team led by Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, to end the strike.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr. Ngige had accused the union of not following procedure before they began their nationwide strike.

The minister who called the reconciliation meeting said the union neglected to give the government a 14-day notice required by law.

While the union said the strike will continue; it, however, urged its counterparts in the state who had billed to join the industrial action on Thursday to hold for now.

Biobelemoye Josiah, JOHESU National Chairman and Ekpebor Florence, JOHESU National Secretary in a joint statement, Thursday, conveyed the resolution of the union.

“As a result of the ongoing negotiation between JOHESU and the Federal Government, the leadership of JOHESU wishes to inform all members that negotiation is ongoing and the strike continues nationwide in all federal health institutions and further directives will be given after meeting with Federal Government on Saturday, 30th, September, 2017.

“In the light of the above, state councils are further directed to put on hold the commencement of their strike initially billed for Thursday, 28th of September, 2017 due to the ongoing talks”, the statement read.

JOHESU had on Wednesday last week insisted on going on strike over the alleged failure of the federal government to meet its demands.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, had pleaded with the association not to embark on strike; but it ignored the plea as the strike commenced in the early hours of Thursday.

The members of the union are hospital workers apart from medical doctors.

In compliance with the declaration of an indefinite strike by JOHESU, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, NANNM directed its members to stay away from all federal health institutions across the country.

Meanwhile, checks have revealed that private hospitals, mission homes and traditional birth attendants in across the country are recording tremendous increase in patronage following the on-going nationwide strike by the health workers.

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