Health workers threaten strike, give FG 15-day ultimatum

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Hazard Allowance Rift: Health workers threaten to vacate Isolation Centres

By Chioma Obinna

Health workers under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, weekend threatened strike over hazard allowance and non-payment of withheld salaries of their members among others.

To this end, the workers have issued a 15- day ultimatum to the Federal Government with effect from midnight, Sunday, August, 30th, to meet their demands.

In a letter addressed to the Federal Ministry of Health, FMOH, dated, August 27, JOHESU directed its members in the Federal Tertiary Health Institutions to embark on industrial action with effect from midnight of Sunday, 13th September,  should the Government failed to meet their demands.

They also maintained that their members in all the state and local government health institutions would be placed on red alert for possible entry into the strike.

The demands of the aggrieved workers include; the review of the defective implementation of COVID-19 Special Inducement and Hazard Allowance; the payment of all withheld salaries of JOHESU members, including the withheld April and May 2018 salaries; and the adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) as was done with Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) since 2014.

Others listed in the letter with the reference number HQ/JOHESU/ADM/FMoH/VOL.II/55 are the implementation of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (ADR) Consent judgment and other court judgments as well as the call to address the structural and infrastructural decay in the health sector.

The letter reads in parts, “This 15 days ultimatum is necessitated by the nonchalant and lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government to the plight of our members, in spite of our benevolence and long notice given on these issues.

“We note with sadness that our long-suffering is not appreciated because the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FMoL&E) continues to give the impression that our members do not have the capacity to endure hunger as they are vulnerable and poor, a perception that will be put to test in the weeks ahead if the government does not heed our call.

“Before the 15-day notice was issued, JOHESU had issued five different correspondences to the Federal Government, on the plight of health workers under the aegis of JOHESU and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) which is made up of five registered trade unions in the health sector.

“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 on 30th September 2017, especially the upward review of CONHESS Salary Structure as agreed, to be completed within five weeks from the date of agreement (30/09/2017) amongst other requests.”

It lamented: “This is both distasteful and condemnable because it is three whooping years after the conclusion of this agreement,” it stated.

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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