Health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) are to begin a nationwide strike from midnight on Sunday.
The strike is over Federal Government’s inability to meet their demands.
JOHESU President Josiah Biobelemoye, announced the strike in a letter addressed to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige.
Newsmen report that the workers had issued a notice to the government, saying that it would embark on a nationwide strike, if their demands were not met.
JOHESU’s demands include addressing of structural and infrastructural decay in the nation’s health sector and review of the implementation of COVID-19 special inducement and hazard allowance.
Ngige had on Friday called for a conciliatory meeting between the Federal Government and JOHESU.
The government directed that in view of the understanding reached at the meeting, JOHESU should consult with its members and report back to the government on Sept. 12.
Biobelemoye said on Sunday that the outcome of the meeting between the joint unions and the government was reported back to the unions’ expanded National Executive Council meeting on Saturday.
He said that it was unanimously agreed that nothing concrete was achieved at the meeting with the government, and the strike notice was, therefore, germane.
“Therefore, the 15-day ultimatum still subsists, and with effect from midnight of Sept. 13, 2020, our members shall withdraw their services due to the government’s inability to meet their demands,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour yesterday, in a statement last night, by its Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Charles Akpan, directed JOHESU to shelve the planned strike, saying going ahead with it would be illegal.
The statement titled, ‘FG declares JOHESU strike is unnecessary, ill-timed and illegal’, partly read: “Parties in disputes are expected not to arm-twist, intimidate or foist helplessness on the other party while negotiations are ongoing as per sections 8 and 18 the of Trade Dispute Act 2004 barring any strike when the matters are before a conciliator and undergoing conciliation.
“Any strike now is inimical to an equable settlement of the dispute, bearing in mind, especially, that this is a grave period of a pandemic where the Federal Government has spent about N20 billion to pay April/May 2020 and an additional N8.9b for June 2020 on COVID-19 hazard and inducement allowances, respectively, to all categories of health workers that are mainly JOHESU members.”