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HomeLabour and ProductivityJOHESU Dares FG, Commences Strike Midnight, Today

JOHESU Dares FG, Commences Strike Midnight, Today

By Ekaette Ibuot

All efforts by the Federal Government to intervene in the intended strike by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) seems not to have worked as the health workers are set to begin a nation wide industrial action effective from Sunday September 13, 2020 despite Federal Government reconciliatory meeting with the leadership of the union.

JOHESU Chairman, Comrade Josiah Biobelemoye, reiterated the decision on Sunday in Abuja, following an expanded National Executive Council meeting of the Union which held on Saturday 12th September 2020.

The industrial action may come despite warnings from the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige against embarking on the strike at the face of economic and health downturn caused by the present covid19 pandemic.

JOHESU in a memo to her members, stated that; “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.

JOHESU which comprises of over forty professional health institutions has been having running battle with the Federal Government over failure to pay 50percent Special Inducement Allowances to frontline health workers involved in the containment of Coronavirus in Nigeria.

Part of the grievances 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.

Prior to meeting with the Federal Government last week in order to resolve the issues, JOHESU said it 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”.

The Union has alleged that government was not forthcoming in the payment of all withheld salaries of members at JUTH, FMC Owerri, LUTH, including April, & May 2018, salaries as well as
adjustment of CONHESS salary structure.

The health workers union also rejected the recent increase in the pump price of fuel and hike in electricity tariff,describing it as government’s insensitivity to the plights of its citizenry.

“We, in strong terms reject the hike in electricity tariff especially at this crunch period occasioned by COVID, as it clearly amplifies the sufferings of poor Nigerians where our members belong. As a short term solution, we demand urgent fix of our refineries to begin local refining and mitigate the volatility of the petroleum products prices with attendant anti-masses effect.

“It is worrisome that when other countries are offering palliatives as well as reducing inclination towards social dysfunctions, our leaders appear to be sowing seeds of hardship and bitter pills to bring depression to the doorstep of citizens, “Josiah stressed.

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