Health Workers Begin 7-Day Warning Strike

  • JOHESU: Sacking workers will be laughable

Paul Obi in Abuja

More woes were on Wednesday added to the federal government in the health sector as workers under the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) embarked on a seven-day warning strike to press home the demands and agreements which the federal government appears to have jettisoned.

The strike came amid the confusion and purported sack of members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) by the government, notwithstanding ongoing negotiations mediated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and other prominent personalities in government.

The decision by JOHESU members to down their tools was sequel to the failure of government to heed their demands, including denying blatantly existing and previous agreements reached with the union.

In a communiqué issued in Abuja and signed by JOHESU affiliates, JOHESU stressed that government was not serious in addressing its demands.
Those who signed the document were Biobelemoye Josiah, National President, MHWUN; Adeniji A.A, National President, NANNM; (Dr.) B. A. Akintola, National President, NUAHP; Chris Ani, National President, NASU; (Dr.) Godswill Okara, President, AHPA; Com. Silas G. Adamu; Acting Secretary, MHWUN; Shettima Thomas A., Ag. Secretary General, NANNM; Akinade M.O., General Secretary, NUAHP; Peters Adeyemi, General Secretary, NASU.

“Following repeated ultimatums totaling 92 days issued to the Federal Government by JOHESU, a meeting was called for Monday 20th June, 2016 at the instance of the Federal Government at the Conference room of the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment with a view to resolving the issues in dispute.

“However, the Federal Government was not prepared for the meeting and therefore pleaded that the meeting be shifted to Tuesday 21st June, 2016 at 9.00am.

“At the rescheduled meeting of Tuesday 21st June, 2016, it was observed that despite the series of meetings earlier held with committees and sub-committees set up to look unto the various issues presented by JOHESU and agreements reached, to our utmost surprise the Federal Government asserted that there was no agreement on the issues upon which erstwhile Secretary to the Federal Government set up a sub-committee, the report of which was accepted by the Federal Government and another sub-committee set up to work out the financial implication to be submitted to the Federal Government for approval.

“Other issues upon which previous submissions had been made were equally pushed to the unions to make fresh submission showing lack of seriousness on the part of the Federal Government. Having consulted widely with members nationwide and having shown consistent understanding since February 2015, the leadership of JOHESU hereby directs that all members in Federal Tertiary Health Institutions should proceed on a 7-day WARNING STRIKE from 12:01am of Wednesday 22nd June, 2016.

“We hereby appeal to the general public to please bear with us and impress it on the Federal Government to meet the demands of the unions to prevent the warning strike from becoming a full blown indefinite strike,” the communique said.

Speaking on the possibility of government wielding the big stick against JOHESU members, as she has done with NARD members, JOHESU President, Comrade Josiah said sacking workers for going on strike will be a great disservice.