The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) on Monday gave the Federal Government Jan. 31 deadline to resolve all disputes, and meet the unions’ outstanding demands, or face industrial action.
JOHESU’s National Chairman, Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the government had withheld April and May 2018 salaries of some union members that participated in the last strike.
Other demands by JOHESU include the age-long struggle for recognition of consultancy cadre for eligible health workers and other outstanding allowances.
Josiah stated that the unions would be compelled to embark on strike if the government failed to meet its demands by Jan. 31.
“There is a time limit which should have been 21 days, but now, it is over six months because there are still some issues that are unresolved,” the JOHESU chairman said.
He said that the government breached its agreement with the unions after the last year’s strike, that none of its members should be sanctioned.
“Non-payment of salary during strike was not part of the memorandum of understanding we signed with the government.
“We also have valid order of courts on our outstanding allowances; rather, the Federal Ministry of Health, through various hospital managements, illegally paid the arrears to medical doctors.
“Medical doctors are not our members, and not entitled to these allowances because they were legitimately appropriated for us; which really need to be addressed,” he said.
Josiah added that appointments of leaders in the Ministry of Health were only favourable to the medical doctors.
“Meeting health workers’ demands are not essential, but when we plan going on strike, the government would say health is an essential service to get Nigerians’ sympathy,” he said.