By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
Health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU)/Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations JOHESU/AHPA have declared an indefinite strike nationwide.
They have, therefore, directed all their members in Federal Health Institutions nationwide to withdraw their services indefinitely commencing from midnight of Thursday, May 25, 2023.
JOHESU/AHPA is a conglomerate of four registered trade Unions which includes Medical and Health workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institution (NASU).
The reasons for the strike, the Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Dr. Ogbonna Chimela, said include the adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS); payment of peculiar allowances to health workers under the aegis of JOHESU/AHPA; immediate and unconditional implementation of the Consultant Cadre Circular for Pharmacists in all Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) and payment of all withheld salaries of its members in Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) ; outstanding April and May, 2018 salaries of members in Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Azare and payment of health workers excluded in the payment of new Hazard Allowances.
The group, therefore, called for the immediate approval and implementation of the Technical Committee report on CONHESS adjustment by FG.
It further called for immediate payment of the omission and Shortfall in the COVID-19 Hazard/Inducement Allowances of affected Health Workers in the Federal Health Institutions (FHIs) and recognition of Health Workers in non-core hospital facilities in the payment of new hazard allowance; payment and Inculcation of Peculiar Allowances to Health Workers under the aegis of JOHESU/AHPA; immediate and Unconditional Implementation of the Pharmacist Consultant cadre; Unconditional Payment of all withheld salaries of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, JUTH, LUTH and April and May, 2018 salaries of members at NOFIC, Azare and speedy Implementation of the Increase in Retirement Age from 60 – 65 years and 70 years for Consultants in the health professions.
While declaring the industrial strike, Dr. Ogbonna said: “It becomes imperative to inform you that since the Federal Government is yet to met these demands, our members have been directed by the JOHESU National Executive Council (NEC) to proceed on an indefinite strike action upon expiration of the ultimatum by mid-night of May 25, 2023.
JOHESU, therefore, reiterated its commitment to continue to work with the Federal Government and all stakeholders in its bid to improve the ailing and over-stretched health system with necessary reforms in public interest.
“It is on record that we have shown enough patriotism in the last four years of this Administration and in public interest by not embarking on any industrial action even though our counterparts like the NMA and NARD have gone on strike severally during the life span of this administration only to be rewarded for their unending recklessness.
“We solicit the understanding of consumers of health pending when acceptable redress of our demands will be met,” he said.