The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) commenced a nationwide strike today after six months the last was called off. The reasons for this strike are the same with the reasons of the previous strike. According to JOHESU, she suspended the previous
strike due to the agreement reached with the Federal Government of Nigeria(FGN) to implement the demands within five weeks after.
However, after six months the FGN is yet to implement the agreement. The issues are:
- The upward adjustment of CONHESS salary scale
- Arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10
- Employment of additional health professionals
- The implementation of court judgments
- Upward review of retirement age from 60 -65
JOHESU maintains that this strike was avoidable as she had continued to press her demands after the agreed five weeks through the 21days notice given to FGN on 5thof February 2018. Subsequently, on the 5th of March 2018, another 30 working days ultimatum was issued to the FGN to implement the agreement and avert the nationwide strike.
In another development, the rivalry that has been existing in nation’s health sector showed up its ugly head as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) which is the umbrella body of the doctors, is urging the FGN not to yield to the demands of JOHESU. The NMA president Ogirima Mike, during a press briefing on Tuesday, described JOHESU as an illegal association.
What are the implications?
- Though the doctors have resolved to work, the Patients cannot assess any meaningful health care at the tertiary hospitals without JOHESU.
- Patients will suffer! Imagine the number of patients who would have to wait until this is resolved.
- Patients who cannot afford the cost of private hospital could die.
- Industrial disharmony would continue to brew in the tertiary hospitals since the government would grant the demands of NMA and NARD, but yet to grant similar demands to other Health Professionals since 2012 the negotiations started.
- It is becoming a norm in Nigeria that workers’ conditions of service cannot be improved unless they go on strike. You can recall recent strikes by ASUU, NARD, NASUU, and currently JOHESU, etc.