Thursday, September 21, 2017

UATH, National Hospital  Joins JOHESU Strike Action in Nigeria
By Vincent Ikuomola and Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja
The Nation, Nigeria
September 21, 2017 

The Chairman, National Association of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Steve Oricha has said the union is in solidarity with the indefinite strike action code named ‘operation alligator bite.’

He said during the protest, on Thursday, at the hospital in Abuja that the protest was in compliance with directive issued by the national body to commence nationwide indefinite strike action.

Oricha said a 30-day notice was earlier given to the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health, followed by another seven days without any response.

He noted that until the federal government honours the agreement, which the union had been demanding, the protest will continue.

According to him, JOHESU demanded for a review in salary structure, promotion and most importantly for the federal government to honour a National Industrial Court judgment on irregular promotion method among other 19 demands.

He argued that since 2010 when the judgment was made, the federal ministry of health has refused comply.

His words: “There are almost 23 demands by the national Johesu. It includes the payment of arrears, adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), promotion of our colleagues that are due to be promoted to directorship. It also include, recognizing our members who have risen to that peak of their careers as consultant.

“We want government to also replicate the residency training and other interventions in other segment of the health sector in our union. For instance, we both graduated from the same university, spent the same five years. We got employed at the same time but as I was employed, government gave me CONHESS 8 but a medical doctor is given CONHESS 13. Why is that disparity?”

He argued that the federal government would thereafter train the medical doctors on through what he described as residency training for five years, adding that upon arrival, the doctors are promoted.

“No other categories in the health sector have the same privilege. The federal government also sends house officers to various universities and teaching hospitals for internships leaving other professionals to go scout themselves, meanwhile the health workers offers the same services to the people,” he added.

Also, at  the National Hospital, Abuja health workers  pushed  home their demands, as  nurses staged a rally.

The rally, which in collaboration with other health workers was held at the hospital premises, thereby disrupting activities.

They were joined by the FCT Chairperson, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Comrade Deborah Yusuf  and the National Chairman, Federal Health Institutions Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Wale Olatunde, and some members of their executives.

Terver Upu, the chairman of both JOHESU, and the  National Association of Nigerian Nurses, National Hospital Branch said nurses at the hospital has stopped clinical services in compliance  with national directives.

He said that infrastructural decay, lack of drugs and equipment in hospitals, injustice to nurses and denial or remuneration and arrears was the reason they embarked on the industrial action.

Comrade Deborah Yusuf, Federal Capital Territory Chairperson, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, said that nurses and other helath professionals under JOHESU have withdrawn their services indefinitely in all federal health institutions in the FCT and nationwide, adding  “We suspended the same  strike, two years back but  nothing has been done to address it till now, even after series of meeting with them. We have been patient enough.”

Chairman of  the Federal Health Institutions sector of the  National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Wale Olatunde  said government’s denial of skipping for nurses and  owing them arrears was not fair when it allows same for even students and other professionals.

Nurses in the Federal health facilities were  directed to join strike action after  a stakeholders’ consultative meeting on Tuesday, where the leadrship of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) threw it’s weight behind  JOHESU and directed it members to join the indefinite strike action by today’s  midnight  20th of September 2017.

JOHESU has issued an ultimatum to embark on strike action starting from midnight today should the government fails to address it’s demand.

NANNM who warned of imminent shutdown of the health facilities across the country, also directed nurse at the states and Local government to join the strike one week after.

Briefing Journalists in Abuja, President of the union, Abdrafiu Adeniji said “Finally, it should be noted that the continuous peace and harmony in the health sector can no longer be guaranteed if the Federal Government fails to abide by the various agreements reached since 2012 for the betterment of Nursing Profession and the Health Sector in general.

Therefore, all Nurses and Midwives in all Federal health Institutions are hereby directed to join other JOHESU members to proceed on an indefinite strike action from midnight of Wednesday, 20th of September 2017.”

The union listed some of it’s demand to include: “Chronic shortage of  both general and specialist manpower in our various institutions  Inadequate provision of medical consumables  and services in an attempt to promote PPP for personal and selfish reasons
Stagnation/Redesignation/Demotion of our members contrary to 2012 & 2014 NIC Judgments on career progression  and skipping
Stoppage/Non-Restoration of payment of Teaching Allowance to our deserving members on CONHESS 7&8 despite enabling circular
Non-Payment of arrears owed from 2011 till date in most hospitals;

Non-Payment of uniform allowance owed from 2008 till date in some hospitals;

Non –payment of arrears of Relativity Allowance to our deserving members; and non deduction and non-remittance of union dues by some hospital managements.”

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