The Joint Health Sector Union on Monday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet its demands.
Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, the National Chairman of the union, said this at a warning rally organised by the union in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress, among other stakeholders, to drive home the challenges bedevilling the health sector in Abuja.
Biobelemoye noted that the seven days ultimatum, effective from February 4, was given due to the intervention of clerics and their love for the Nigerian populace. “We decided to seek God’s intervention by reporting our offenders to him. Last Friday, we attended the Juma’at prayers while on Sunday we attended Church Service.
“Fortunately and unfortunately, we met the Minister of Health in the church where we worship and the Overseer told him that he is in a better position to resolve this matter and allow the populace to receive better health.
“The cleric further pleaded with us to exercise some patience, hence we decided to give the seven-day ultimatum after which we will report to the NLC that has decided to take over the matter,” Biobelemoye noted.
The chairman listed the demands of the union as unjustified withholding of the salaries of its members for April and May last year, upward adjustment of CONHESS Salary Structure and headship of hospital departments.
Others, according to him, are the implementation of consultancy cadre for JOHESU members and punitive actions against its members at Federal Medical Centre Owerri and Jos University Teaching Hospital.
He specifically noted that these demands were outside the ones under the Alternative Dispute Resolution. Biobelemoye added that the rally was basically informed due to the violation of the May 30 Court Order by the Federal Ministry of Health.
According to him, the court ordered the union to suspend the action and also said no party should do anything that will jeopardise the peace in places of work. “While we were in the ARD discussing, the Federal Ministry of Health decided to indiscriminately implement no-work-no-pay after the court has said no one should do anything to provoke the other.
“We refused to take action for over seven months that they violated the court’s order because we are mindful of the fact that every strike affects the common man negatively.
“We know that public health institutions are the cheapest for the Nigerian populace, so we were reluctant to embark on strike for over seven months. “We have used the means of dialogue to impress it on the federal ministry of health and its management that they are violating a court order but to no avail.
“We use this medium to tell Nigerians that have the opportunity of interacting with those in authority specifically the minister of health to do the needful,” he said. Earlier, the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Waba, said he would map out actions to ensure the demand of over 90 per cent of the health workforce was meant.
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