Healthcare Crisis Looms As Workers Declare Indefinite Strike

Healthcare Services in Nigeria Under Threat as workers Declares Indefinite Strike over Unmet Demands

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) have issued a directive to their members, urging them to commence indefinite strike action.

Healthcare Crisis Looms As Workers Declare Indefinite Strike
The announcement was made by Dr. Obinna Ogbonna, the National Vice President of JOHESU, during a press briefing held in Abuja on Thursday.

JOHESU serves as the umbrella organization for various unions and associations representing health workers in Nigeria, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions.

The decision to call for the strike action follows a letter dated May 9, 2023, in which JOHESU leadership issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government.

The ultimatum was issued due to alleged inconsistencies on the part of the government during ongoing negotiations regarding the adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure for health workers.

Commencing on May 10, 2023, the 15-day ultimatum expired at midnight on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.

Dr. Obinna emphasized, “It becomes imperative to inform you that since the Federal Government is yet to meet these demands, our members have been directed by the JOHESU National Executive Council to proceed on an indefinite strike action upon expiration of the ultimatum by midnight of May 25, 2023.”

JOHESU accused the federal government of repeatedly deviating from agreed terms and rules pertaining to non-discrimination in the determination of wages and benefits for health workers.

The union has called for the implementation of the agreed-upon adjustment to the health salary structure, as outlined in the terms of the settlement reached in September 2017.

Additionally, JOHESU has demanded the payment of peculiar allowances to health workers and the release of all withheld salaries owed to its members in the Federal Medical Center in Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital, and Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

They have also demanded the payment of outstanding salaries for April and May 2018. Furthermore, JOHESU is seeking the prompt adjustment of the retirement age from 60 to 65 years, the inclusion of certain health workers in the new hazard allowance payment, and the settlement of the remaining balance of the COVID-19 allowance.

The strike action has raised concerns about the impact it will have on the healthcare system, as JOHESU represents a significant portion of the workforce in Nigerian hospitals and healthcare facilities.

The union’s demands highlight the pressing need for fair and equitable treatment of health workers, who have been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to play a vital role in the provision of healthcare services.

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