Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Health workers strike across Nigeria

Health services are to be paralysed indefinitely in public institutions throughout the country as the workers have been ordered to down tools from today.

The Joint Health Sectors Unions (JOHASU) gave the directive Tuesday following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum given to the government on August 1 and the failure of the Minister of Labour or his representative to turn up for a meeting scheduled for Monday to amicably resolve the issues in dispute.

This information was contained in a statement made available to journalists Tuesday in Abuja and signed by the National President and Secretary-General, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Ayuba Wabba and Marcus Omokhuale respectively, their counterparts in the National Association of Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), A.A. Adeniji and W.G. Yusuf-Badmus; Nigerian Union of Pharmacists, Medical Technologists and Professions Allied to Medicine (NUPMTPAM), Faniran Olukayode and M.O. Akinade.

The other signatories are Mrs Ladi Iliya and Peters Adeyemi of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and acting President and General Secretary of Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals. Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), B. Akinola and M.O. Akinade respectively.

The associations said the industrial action, which is to affect federal tertiary health institutions from today, will be joined by workers in states and local government health institutions from midnight on 28 August.
“While we sincerely apologise for the inconveniences this action may cause Nigerian citizens, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, should be held responsible,” they said.

The issues for which the workers are agitating are non-skipping of salary grade level CONHESS 10; the National Health Bill; consultancyand specialist allowances as well as Call/shift duty and other professional allowances.
However, after 13 months of adjudication, the National Industrial Court ruled on July 22, that the skipping of CONHESS 10 was legal and that the purported circular by the Ministry of Health and Head of Service of the Federation stopping it was illegal, null and void and of no effect.

JOHESU argued that the import of the ruling was that members would continue to skip CONHESS 10; that those earlier appointed as consultants would continue to enjoy the status along with other benefits and that the withdrawal of their letters of appointment was irregular.

Further, the group contended that shift duty, administrative non-clinical and call duty allowances should remain as they are but that negotiation should commence towards a review of the allowances.
“Also, it was held by the court that issues already agreed upon are accrued rights and should be implemented without delay in line with collective bargaining agreement,” they said.

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