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UPDATE: Health workers to begin indefinite strike on Sept. 20

The Joint Health Sector Union has directed its members to proceed on an indefinite strike with effect from September 20, 2017 if the Federal Government failed to meet its demands.

JOHESU comprises the Medical and Health Workers of Nigeria, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutes.

The National Chairman of JOHESU, Biobelemoye Joy-Josiah, said during a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday that the strike code-named, Operation Alligator Bite, was expected to be total.

JOHESU is demanding  adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure, (the salary structure for pharmacists, medical laboratory technologists,  nurses and other health workers) as was done for the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (which is the salary structure for medical and dental officers in the Public Service) in 2014.

Others include, abolition of the payment of outstanding arrears of promotion; skipping and relativity; autonomy for teaching and specialist hospitals in the country; implementation of all court judgements; and the review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years as done for the tertiary education sector.

The health workers alleged that the Federal Government was biased in its handling of emergent issues in the health sector with preferential treatment to medical doctors whenever they embark on what they described as “illegal strike.”

JOHESU said that the Federal Ministry of Health which took immediate action on the strike called by doctors snubbed their members after inviting them to a meeting on Tuesday.

He said, “We have come to hold this press conference following the snub that we received from the Federal Ministry of Health yesterday (Tuesday)  after we were invited to a meeting.

“Less than 24 hours after we were given an invitation, we, as a people who love Nigerians and considering the importance of health to Nigerians who would want to resolve issues without embarking on strike or going through the hard way responded positively.”