Minister of Health,Prof.C.O.Onyebuchi Chukwu
By Patrick Ugeh
Health workers at the National Hospital, Abuja, Thursday made good their threats to embark on an indefinite industrial action beginning from 4.p.m following their three-day warning strike, which ended Thursday night.
During the last hours of the warning strike, members of the joint industrial unions carried placards with inscriptions, ‘Odiba must go’, and ‘We need better conditions of service’. Others read: ‘Uplift staff with additional qualifications,’ ‘We have endured maltreatment for 14 years,’ and ‘We are tired of injustice.’’
Armed with the placards, they went round the National Hospital but nobody from the management addressed them.
Thereafter, the health workers made up of the Senior Staff Association (SSA) National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) declared indefinite strike.
Speaking on behalf of the unions, Tilani Adewale said the workers would not return to work until the hospital and all appropriate authorities were ready to match action with the provision of the Act that established the National Hospital in 1999 with regards to their demands.
The demands are: incessant complaints about the disregard and the non-implementation of the National Hospital’s conditions of service document as approved by the Office of the Head of Service (HoS) of the Federation in the year 2010.
“The continuous disregard for public service rules, the schemes of service of other health professionals as well as the management team of National Hospital, has been a source of serious concerns to our members. And after five years of painstaking efforts, an approved copy of the National Hospital conditions of service was officially presented to the union leaders in 2010 and the content did not meet the full expectations of workers.
“We expect National Hospital management team to keep faith with the document which is in line with chapter 1, sub section 1.2 that states that ‘The condition of service shall come into force as soon as it is approved by the board of the hospital and ratified by the HoS.’”
For that reason, they demanded the full implementation of the NHA condition of service, the training guidelines submitted to the hospital management in 2010 be adopted as training policy for the hospital, the re-establishment of a staff clinic to cater for the healthcare needs of staff and their dependants, and that the medical bill refund to the staff hitherto suspended should be restored.