Health sector shutdown looms as JOHESU issues strike notice to FG

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The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Association have threatened to commence an indefinite strike in 15 days if the federal government does not address “outstanding welfare issues”.

JOHESU is the umbrella body for all health workers’ unions and associations.Biobelemonye Josiah, JOHESU’s national president, issued the strike notice in a letter addressed to Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, and other relevant stakeholders on Saturday.He listed some of the welfare issues to include the adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHES), payment of all withheld salaries, review of the implementation of COVID-19 special inducement and hazard allowance, increase in retirement age from 60 to 65 years for health workers and 70 years for consultants, among others.

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Others are payment of reviewed hazard allowance in terms of payment that guarantee fairness and justice to all concerned, payment of actual 30 percent consolidated basic shift duty allowance to nurses/midwives and others,” Josiah said.“Payment of teaching allowance to members on CONHESS 7 and 8 (nurses, midwives and others) and proper placement of nurse graduates and interns.”The JOHESU president said other demands are the payment of outstanding salaries of intern health professionals and proper implementation of the consultant pharmacist cadre for pharmacists in the public sector.

He added: “You will recall that up till the time of writing this letter, the federal government has not deemed it fit to honour the terms of settlement entered into with JOHESU since September 2017.“This is especially the upward review of CONHESS salary structure as agreed, to be completed within five weeks from the date of agreement amongst other requests.“Government did not deem it fit to address these key issues during the duration of the last seven days warning strike and has only met with JOHESU on July 12.“JOHESU, in compliance with the provision of Section 41 of the Trade Disputes Act Cap.T8 LFN 2004, is constrained to give the Federal Government of Nigeria 15 days ultimatum with effect from September 3.

This also is to inform you that with effect from midnight of September 17, all our members in the federal health institutions shall embark on an indefinite strike action in all state and local government health institutions.“You are all placed on red alert for the strike if the federal government foot drags in attending to our demands.”He said the union has shown patriotism despite the government’s “nonchalant attitude” to the welfare of health workers.The strike notice of JOHESU is coming one month after the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on a yet-to-be-suspended indefinite strike.

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