By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) at the weekend issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to accede to its request or risk another nationwide strike in the health sector, adding that the ultimatum would begin midnight of Sunday (yesterday) and would expire on September 13, 2020.
National Chairman of the union, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah, disclosed this at the weekend in Ilorin, Kwara state capital, at the 27th national executive council meeting of the National Pharmaceutical Technologists and Pharmacy Technicians of Nigeria (NAPTPTON).
Comrade Josiah, who doubles as the President, Medical and Health
Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), said the Federal Government had exhausted
the union’s endurance level.
He said: “We have given 15 days ultimatum to the Federal Government as
required by law. Letters have been sent to the government and we have
got acknowledgement from the government to that effect. But the count
starts from midnight Sunday and it is expected to expire by September
13th, 2020. That is when the strike will commence if the Federal Government refused to accede to our laid out demands that dated back to 2014.
“For instance government entered into agreement with us on COHESS
adjustment precisely September 20th, 2017. The adjustment should have
taken place within five weeks. You know how many weeks it has translated into from 2017 till now. Again, we even have some court judgments in favour of some members of JOHESU but the government is not doing that.
“Lately, we entered into an agreement over this COVID-19 issue as
regards inducement and hazard allowance in which paragraph 1(a) of
that agreement is explicit. It states that the Federal Government is shelving N5000 hazard allowance and in its place it approved 50 percent consolidated basic as hazard allowance for special COVID-19 pandemic for all health workers without any form of discrimination.
“Yet at the point of implementation Federal Ministry of Health issued
a circular that negated the spirit and letter of that agreement. We
made our complaints and the Federal Ministry of Health invited us and
said we were right. At a meeting with the Health Minister of state and
others it was agreed that the non implementation was done in error.
They requested that we should forward to them the list of those that
have been short-paid and financial implications. As it stands today,
they paid the hazard allowance of June 2020 without correcting the errors.
“We are seeing that as a deliberate provocation of health workers. Not
that we cannot react but we put Nigerians first. It is clear here that
the public health practice is the only sector that can save citizens
of poor third world countries like ours.
“COVID-19 has come. It is the public health institutions that are involved. If you see any private hospital doing it before, it comes in, they must discuss of whether they will run at a loss or profit. That is why it is very important that FG does not allow JOHESU to down
tools, because we know the consequences if we down tool.
“All along we have been trying to mitigate the situation but now it is
going beyond our endurance level. We have limited time as I have said.
Government is taking our empathy, compassion and patriotism for
weakness and stupidity.”
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