Nigeria: JOHESU Directs Health Workers in Lagos, Kano, Yobe to 'Relax Strike'

(file photo).
17 May 2018

Abuja — The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) Thursday directed health workers in Lagos, Kano and Yobe States "to tactically relax" the ongoing indefinite strike following the cooperation of the governors of these states.

The directive to relax the strike in Lagos, Kano and Yobe States to accommodate emergency services was as a fall-out of the positive responses from the state governments to the demands made by JOHESU.

Speaking to journalists Thursday night, JOHESU Chairman Biobelemoye Josiah said "it is paramount we seize this discourse to specially convey deep appreciation to state governments which have gone ahead to meet the various clamours and terms of settlement in agreements with government. This include Yobe and Lagos States which have now adjusted the CONHESS Scale as demanded.

"We specially commend the Lagos State Government for approving the consultancy cadre for pharmacists in its employment. Just like the Niger State Government did with pharmacists since 2012.

"The JOHESU also expresses gratitude to the Kano State government for ensuring good welfare package for its healthcare workforce in addition to the intervention of Governor Ganduje to ameliorate the ongoing strike action. We urge our members in Lagos, Yobe and Kano to tactically relax the strike to accommodate emergency services in those states as a measure of goodwill."

Noting that the crux of its clamour has always been restoration of the relativity in the CONHESS and CONMESS scale which was deliberately distorted with active government collaboration in 2014, he said JOHESU remained "steadfast that in alignment with democratic norms and the rule of law, this desire remains very legitimate."

He also berated the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, demanding that the federal government terminates his appointment as a minister.

Josiah said: "the Federal Ministry of Health as presently led by Prof. Isaac Adewol has constituted itself as a major hindrance to fruitful deliberation as he has never disguised his intention to symbolise the propaganda machine of the NMA through his posturing at all our meetings, which necessitated JOHESU to take a position that the negotiations were structured to fail ab-initio.

"Prof. Isaac Adewole is on record to have insisted that the wage structure in the health sector must reckon with what was obtainable in the 1991 late Prof. Olukoye Ransome - Kuti's dual salary system (MSS and HSS) which marked the beginning of persistent acrimony until it was corrected through the Harmonised Tertiary.

"The duo of the Ministers of Labour and Health who are both members of the NMA have taken a position that parity must entail a basic salary differential in the emolument of health professionals and their doctor colleagues.

"On May 15, 2018, JOHESU came up with a comprehensive presentation to graphically showcase the realities of the various salary scales in the Health Sector from 1977 till date.

"Even when the reality on ground shows that a fresh doctor presently enters the public service on CONMESS 3 which is the equivalent of GL 12 with a take home monthly package of N313,000,00 per month, the closest in line who are health professionals enter public service on CONHESS 9 which is the equivalent of GL 10 with a package of N161,670.00 with a proposal to have an adjustment that takes him to a total emolument of N190,000.00. The two ministers who are members of NMA have taken positions that these health professionals seek parity with doctors. In mathematical terms this is a significant 61% differential."

Josiah who was accompanied by JOHESU Secretary, Ekpebor Florence, said that should President Buhari fail to remove Prof. Adewole from office, the minister, would remain "a major threat to public health especially at a time that the dreaded Ebola disease is currently rampaging in some African Countries.

"The Federal Government must energise the deadlocked negotiations between the JOHESU and Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment with genuine conciliators who have national interest. Specifically, a befitting budget to offset the already compromised three options presented by JOHESU to the Federal Government on May 16, 2018 must be made available through interventions facilitated by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation," they maintained.

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