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Dark days looms as health workers begin 7days warning strike across Nigeria today

By Appolos Christian

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has directed its members across Nigeria to commence a 7- days warning strike today Monday, 14 September 2020, because the Federal Government failed to meet their demands.

The health workers unions had earlier issued a 15-days ultimatum which ended on Sunday, 13 September, 2020.

According to a letter addressed to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, dated September 12, 2020, the unions noted that the conciliatory meeting held on Thursday, 10 September, 2020 between JOHESU and the Federal Government did not yield any positive result.

The strike notice letter sent to the Minister of Labour, was signed by President Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Com. (Dr.) Silas Adamu, Secretary General Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), President National Association of Nigeria Nurus and Midwives (NANNM), Com. A. A. Adeniji, Com A. A. Shettima General Secretary National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), President Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes And Associated Institutlons (SSAUTHRIAI), Corn. (Dr.)A. B. Akintola and Com. (Dr.) Ezekiel Popoola, General 5ecretary Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes And Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI).

Others are Com. Martin Egbanubi General Secretary Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Com. (Dr.) 0. Ogbonna President Nigerian Union of Alied Health Professionals NUAHP) Com. Hassan Makolo National President, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational & Associated Institutions (NASU) and Com. P. A. Adeyem General Secretary Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational & Associated Institutions (NASU).

The letter reads “You would recall that at the end of the meeting held in your office on Thursday, 10″ September, 2020, JOHESU demanded that the outcome of the meeting between JOHESU and the Federal Government be reported back to our expanded NEC meeting and give a feed back to the Federal government within 48 hours.

“In the light of the above, the meeting of our expanded NEC was held today, Saturday, 12″ September, 2020. And at the end of the meeting, which was held both physically and virtually, it was unanimously agreed that since nothing concrete was achieved at the said meeting with the Federal Government, that the strike notice is still germane and alive.

“Therefore, the 15-day ultimatum still subsists and with effect from midnight of Sunday, 13th September, 2020, our members shall withdraw their services due to Federal Government inability to meet their demands”.

The union’s grievance which may necessitate a full blown strike in the health sector is the alleged shortchanging of the union in payment of COVID-19 Special Inducement and Hazard Allowance.

“JOHESU is forced to draw attention to the deliberate short-changing of our members in the payment of COVID-19 Inducement Allowances. The FMoH ought to redress and supervise the adherence to payment of 40% or 50% COVID-19 Special Inducement Allowances as appropriate to all health workers in Isolation Centres, the FHIs or other related Health facilities without discrimination bordering on clinical or non-clinical status based on our MoU of 21st April, 2020, and as admitted by the Federal Ministry of Health at a meeting of 1st July, 2020, that the payment of 10% was done in error.

“Consequently, FMoH agreed to correct the anomaly and pay the outstanding balance of 40% of Consolidated Basic Salary to all beneficiaries hitherto earning N5,000 as Hazard Allowance.

“The Federal Government did not ensure total and full implementation of the July 1, 2020 agreement between JOHESU and the Federal Government when it disbursed the 3rd tranche of the allowance for June, 2020.

“This has created rumbles and grumbles across our membership and has now created the challenge of assuaging the affected members what have become restive and thus making it impossible to guarantee industrial harmony within the generality of JOHESU members.

“It is rational logic to put on the table that infecting viruses will not decipher who a clinical or non-clinical staff is in the various Health Institutions before striking the would be victims. This is why this variant of discrimination should be embarrassing to the nation.

“It becomes imperative to inform you that if the FG does not meet these demands by midnight of September 13,2020, JOHESU will have no other choice than to commence a nationwide 7-days warning strike of our members in all the Federal health institutions FHIs, the States and LG Health institutions are placed on red alert for possible entry into the fray if the FG foot drags in attending to our demands”.

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