By Ndidi Chukwu
Hope of resolving issues between the Federal Government and Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) dims as federal government displayed “lack of commitment and seriousness.”
Said Ayuba Wabba its national president
JOHESU in line with this development has said it will stop health workers in hospitals from doing any form of “skeletal and concessional services” in all healthcare facilities, intensifying the month-old strike called by the Union last month after federal government failed to attend a scheduled meeting between both sides on Monday.
Wabba said the Union will achieve “total compliance” from members as the Federal Government’s nonchalance to their demands will warrant Suspension of every activity that workers did in the wake of the strike. The Health Workers Union is clamoring for implementation of agreements it reached with the Federal Government since 2009 and several rulings of the National Industrial Court in their favour.
The Union’s grievances increases as two previous meetings since the strike started on November 12 have been “without meaningful progress,” said JOHESU chairman. The union said key officials of the federal health ministry, from the minister and permanent secretary to directors “were conspicuously absent, thereby stalling the meeting.” It has also accused government of threatening and intimidating its members, in effect pushing “double standards” different from how government treated doctors who went on strike earlier this year.
“JOHESU has fulfilled all righteousness and our strike action is both legal and legitimate,” the unions insisted. “The invocation of “no work, no pay” by the Federal Government is totally flawed and holds no water, whatsoever.” JOHESU cited calls to police by hospital management in Lagos state to quell picketing health workers, and the denial of pay for 28 selected union leaders in Federal Medical Centres in Birnin Kudu and Bida.
“We have specific cases that we have taken stock of, but the bottom line is when NMA did theirs, they supported them, and those issues were not issues. This is a dispute of rights, arising from failure of government to implement collective agreements.”
The union called on its members to prepare for a “long drawn battle, if need be,” insisting it “will not turn back until victory is achieved.”