18 January 2014

Nigeria: Fresh Strike Looms in Nigeria's Health Sector

The Chairperson, Joint Health Workers Union, JOHESU, Ayuba Wabba, has said the union will begin a three-day warning strike on January 23.

Mr. Wabba said this in Abuja on Saturday.

He said the strike is for government to fully and unconditionally implement all agreements it signed with the union, whose members include laboratory technicians, pharmacists, and other health workers outside doctors.

"It is also for the immediate review of CONHESS and release of circular to take effect from 1/1/14, the same way done to CONMESS," she said.

The chairperson also directed the members to proceed on the strike on the day in question. He said the notice has been dispatched to all unions and associations.

"We are going on the strike because government is not serious with us. We have found out that they are not committed to the implementation of the National Industrial Court (NIC) order.

"Skipping of CONHESS 10 is legitimate and legal and directed that Ministry of Health should revert to status quo so that workers would continue to enjoy the offer," he said.

Mr. Wabba also said that government had failed to address issue of the cancellation of consultancy appointment for his members as ordered by the court.

He explained that members like other health professionals had been enjoying the appointment as contained in a Circular on appointment of consultants Ref. No. SMH. 491/S.2/Vol.II/221 of 29th March 1976.

He added that the ministry suddenly issued a unilateral circular stopping the appointment of other health professionals as consultants.

He said JOHESU believed that the decision was influenced by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).

Mr. Wabba, however, said that the union would not call off the strike until all agreements reached with government since May 2010 and to date were implemented unconditionally.

"They must release circular commensurate to what they released to other health professionals, then we can call off the strike," he said.

The strike announcement by the health workers is reminiscent of the happenings that characterised Nigeria's health sector in 2013 that led to strikes by JOHESU, the Association of Resident Doctors, and the Nigeria Medical Association at different times of the year.

The doctors recently suspended a nationwide strike planned for early January.


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