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JOHESU to cripple health sector with commencement of indefinite strike

JOHESU to cripple health sector with commencement of indefinite strike

- An indefinite strike starting from Tuesday night has been announced by the Joint Health Sector Unions

- The association is taking the action in reaction to the government’s failure to meet its demands

- The minister for health, Prof Isaac Adewole, has however stated that the federal government is working to avert the strike

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has announced that it will commence an indefinite strike from midnight of Tuesday, April 17, Premium Times reports.

The announcement was made by the union’s national vice president, Ogbonna Chimela, on Monday, April 16. gathers that the union, which is comprised of hospital workers including nurses and pharmacists, but excluding doctors and dentists, said the strike will paralyze activities in all health institutions nationwide.

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Chimela stated: “All federal government health institutions in Nigeria including federal medical centres, specialists’ hospitals, orthopedic hospitals, psychiatric hospitals among others will be the first to shut down. If the government allows the strike to continue after two weeks, all the states and local government health institutions will now join.”

The union embarked on a strike action in September 2017; during which, many hospitals were forced to discharge sick patients. The protest was launched because of salary adjustments, promotion arrears, working conditions among other issues.

However, the strike was called off in its ninth day after a deal was struck with the federal government.

According to JOHESU, the government is yet to meet any of its demands, six months after that deal was struck. The government was also given a 30 day ultimatum last month.

Chimela said: “Before now we gave the government 21 working days as an ultimatum. Last month, we also threatened to go on strike after 30 working days which will expire tomorrow (Tuesday) and government have not really done anything tangible.

“They only invited us on the 5th of April told us that our issues are being looked into as usual without any concrete effort on how they are planning to meet our demand. So our National Executive Council (NEC) met in Abuja and appraised the situation and we resolved to continue with the strike, no going back.”

Chimela disclosed that the condition for calling off last year’s strike was that JOHESU’s demands would be met in five weeks.

He added: “That five weeks has metamorphosed to six months and still counting.“We know this strike will affect the masses and we are compassionate about the people; that was why we gave enough time for the government to do the needful. But the only thing government seems to respect is strike.

“The labor law gives us that opportunity that if our employer is not showing interest in our matter, we can withdraw our services through strike and we had followed all the due processes before arriving to this decision.”

The minister for health, Prof Isaac Adewole, however, stated that the federal government is working to avert the strike.

He said: “We are reaching out to abort the strike. Almost all demands have been met. Government is looking into remaining issues to address them comprehensively.”

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Meanwhile, previously reported that Nigerian medical doctors commenced a strike action following their rejection of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the Nigerian Medical Association had signed with the federal government.

The minister of labour and employment, Senator Chris Ngige described the action of the doctors as an act of sabotage, while his counterpart in the health ministry, Professor Isaac Adewole, pleaded with the doctors to return to work and give the federal government time to resolve their grievances.

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