Ogun striking health workers refuse to return to work

Ogun state governor, Ibikunle Amosun

The union is demanding for unpaid salaries among others.

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The Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU, of the Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State on Monday declared that it would not succumb to threats or intimidation as its strike enters the second week.

The stance of the union was made known on Monday by its Chairman, Kikelomo Enaholo, who spoke to journalists in Abeokuta.

The union embarked on its strike on June 9 to press home demands that included the payment of their March 2011 salaries, payment of their 17 months Consolidate Tertiary Institutions salary scale, payment of counterpart fund in pension from the state government, all totalling over N2 billion.

The union is also protesting the unwholesome working conditions at the hospital.

The union is an umbrella for the Medical Health Workers Union of Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Non- Academic Staff Union and the Senior Staff Association at the teaching hospital.

Ms. Enaholo also alleged that since the commencement of the strike, she had received no fewer than five threatening anonymous phone calls, asking her to call her members back from the strike.

She, however, declared that she remained undaunted by the calls and was ready to shed the last pint of her blood to fight for her members.

“The callers hid their numbers, accusing me of planning to destabilise the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun. They even accused me of being sponsored by the opposition,” she said.

She stated that she reported the threats to her life to the Divisional Police Officer in Sagamu and the State Security Service in the town, in an attempt to guide against any unforeseen occurrence.

“We are not going to succumb to cheap blackmail. We have waited for more than three months to allow the state government look into our matters,” she said.

The union, according to Ms. Enaholo, had commenced a strike agitating for the rights of its members over three years ago but had to call it off to honour the state governor, Mr. Amosun, who had just been sworn in then.

“We respected the Governor and called off our strike but till date, the governor is yet to reciprocate our good gesture by looking into our demands,” she said.

The body also accused the governor of not opening his doors to the striking staff of the union for a cordial relationship, stressing, “Since the Governor came on board, he has not seen us. This is a slap on our union’s face.”

She disclosed that the governor, rather than following up with the union’s earlier negotiations with the State Commissioner for Health and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, only set up another board which nullified former discussions on the union’s demands.

Ms. Enaholo called on Mr. Amosun to approve the union’s demands in the best interest of the patients who, she said, have been greatly affected by the strike.

The State Commissioner for Health, Olaokun Soyinka, condemned the strike. He explained that government was working on the issues raised by the workers.

Mr. Soyinka said government was not folding its hands, noting, “The strike they embarked upon would not help the matter.”


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