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JOHESU threatens to join resident doctors’ strike over unpaid allowances


Osagie Ehanire,

Health workers under the auspices of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), on Sunday, disclosed that the option of going on strike could not be ruled out if the Federal Government failed to meet its pending demands.

This just as the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives warned the Federal Government not to pay resident doctors,  hazard allowances higher than those of its members.

Besides NANNM, other unions in JOHESU are the Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals and Medical and Health Workers’ Union, the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions as well as the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria

JOHESU’s demand comes as the industrial action of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors entered its third week.

Recall that NARD commenced a nationwide strike on August 2 to protest what it described as maltreatment of its members.

Their demands include the payment of death benefits to the families of 19 of its members who lost their lives during the fight against COVID-19 and the movement of its members from the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System platform to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.

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However JOHESU announced on Sunday that its members may contemplate going on strike.

According to PUNCH, the senior executive member and spokesman for  JOHESU, Olumide Akintayo, on Sunday, accused the Federal Government of trying to plunge the country into fresh health crises.

The union, in September 2020, had gone on a strike which was later suspended.

FG yet to pay our members COVID-19 allowances, says JOHESU

Akintayo said, “There are lots of outstanding issues with the government. We have a pending five-point agenda. We are dealing with the non-adjustment of the CONHESS salary structure, implementation of several court judgments. Some members are also being owed salaries and as you know the country is still battling with COVID-19 and lots of our members have not been paid COVID-19 allowances.

“We have demanded that government pay our members and up till now, they are still being owed. We also talked about the adjustment of retirement age which is something that cuts across the health sector. The government’s refusal to meet these demands is causing fresh crises in the sector.

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“A strike is an option certainly; we are responsible and we are sensitive to the yearnings of Nigerians, but strike is an option.

“We will continue to hope that the government reciprocates our mature gestures. Their actions will decide our reactions, but a strike is an option.”

Don’t offend us while struggling  to satisfy resident doctors, nurses warn FG

On its part, NANNM warned the Federal Government against pushing it to the wall while satisfying the demands of NARD.

The NANNM said it was not contemplating embarking on any strike but urged the government to consider its members while struggling to satisfy striking members of  NARD.

The president of NANNM, Michael Nnatchi,  said this on Sunday while speaking to one of our correspondents on the association’s demand on hazard allowances.

Nnatchi said the issue of hazard allowances had been politicized, claiming that the nurses deserved the highest pay in the health sector because of the highest exposure to hazards.

He stated, “This issue of hazard has been politicised.  What I mean by this is that the nurses are highly exposed to hazards. Is it exposure to diseases?   Is it kidnapping? which is almost every day, every week.

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“For now, they (resident doctors) are on strike.   I know truly we have been discussing it (hazard allowance) through the office of the honourable minister who honesty has been working very hard. He has a high level of concern on that issue.

“If not that  NARD went on strike, probably, by now all these issues would have been completed. That strike is more or less distracting both dialogues and negotiations.

“I will tell you, we have not threatened any strike, but the truth is that we are expecting to be paid the highest hazard allowance in the sector. So, if the NARD or doctors are asking for the highest pay, we are also asking for higher consideration; 80 per cent of our consolidated basic will not be bad. What we are passing through is much.

“If any special treatment is given to NARD and nothing is considered for us, I pray  that  they (government) don’t push us to go on strike  because if nurses are on strike for one day, you and I know the implication.”