FG Kicks As Health Workers Begin Strike Today
The decision was reached after its expanded National Executive Council meeting held on Saturday with no resolution met.
JOHESU, in a three-paragraph letter dated September 12, titled, ‘Re: Notice of 15-day ultimatum/outcome of JOHESU expanded NEC meeting,’ said it would proceed on strike as nothing was achieved in the conciliatory meeting.
The memo sent to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, was signed by JOHESU President, Biobelemoye Josiah; Secretary-General, Dr Silas Adamu; President of Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, Dr Benjamin Akintola and other stakeholders.
Recall that at the end of the meeting held in your office on Thursday, September 10, 2020, JOHESU demanded that the outcome of the meeting between JOHESU and the Federal Government be reported back to our expanded NEC meeting and give feedback to the Federal Government within 48 hours.
In the light of the above, the meeting of our expanded NEC was held today, Saturday, September 12, 2020. And at the end of the meeting, which was held both physically and virtually, it was unanimously agreed that since nothing concrete was achieved at the said meeting with the Federal Government, that the strike notice is still germane and alive.
Therefore, the 15-day ultimatum still subsists and with effect from midnight of Sunday, September 13, 2020, our members shall withdraw their services due to Federal Government’s inability to meet their demands.
However, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has described the strike by the health workers as illegal and ill-timed.
In a statement released by its Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Charles Akpan, the Ministry 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 reads;
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.
The Federal Government further added that it had addressed most of the unions’ demands.
It then urged the JOHESU leadership to have a rethink “on this illegal strike by putting the welfare of their patients and Nigeria first”.