From Paul Obi in Abuja
The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) Thursday called off its six-week nationwide strike to give room for negotiations with the federal government.
The suspension of the strike came on the heels of the intervention by Senate President Bukola Saraki and the injunction by the National Industrial Court.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja at the end of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, Biobelemoye Josiah, alongside the Secretary, Ekpebor Florence, said: “Nigerians and consumers of healthcare services will recall that the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) embarked on a nationwide strike action on midnight of 17th April, 2018 owing to the failure of federal government through the Federal Ministry of Health to honour agreements willfully signed with the unions on 30th September, 2017, after due notice of sixty six (66) cumulative days.
“Following series of meetings (8) with the Federal Government team under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FMoL&E) and Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) other agencies of government such as Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), Federal Ministry of Finance (FMoF) National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Department of State Security Services (DSS), and others, we note with dismay the insincerity and unseriousness exhibited at the negotiation table by the government negotiating team which led to the breakdown of further negotiations and unnecessarily prolonged the strike action.
“It is on record that it was during the period of late Barr. James Ocholi (SAN) who was the chairman of the committee set up by Federal Ministry of Labour that JOHESU demands were sincerely and passionately looked into with a view to permanently resolving it amicably but the expectation was short-lived due to the cold hands of death. We salute his spirit and dedication to service of his father land.”
Josiah noted the intervention of Senate President Saraki, who, he said, displayed high-level of statesmanship and sincerity of purpose by putting some machinery in place with a view to permanently resolving the issues in contention.
He said JOHESU having considered his intervention after holding just two meetings with the leadership, where serious progress were made, it convened it NEC meeting.
“The various gains from the meetings with His Excellency, the Senate President, were presented to the NEC of JOHESU, after an exhaustive deliberations and discussions, the NEC in session approved that the six (6) weeks old strike be suspended this day Thursday, 31st May, 2018 because of the sympathy the Unions have for the suffering Nigerian masses and also to pave way for further negotiations to continue on Monday 4th June, 2018,â€ he said.