Health workers under the Joint Health Sector Unions, Ogun State chapter, on Wednesday took to the streets in Abeokuta, demanding that the Federal Government should honour the agreement it reached with the National Union of Allied Healthcare Professionals, since 2009. The members consist of nurses, laboratory technicians, radiologists, pharmacists and matrons.
Though the NUAHP had ordered its members to embark on a nationwide strike since November 13, 2014, the state Chairman, Coalition of Unions under the umbrella of JOHESU, Mr. Samuel Idowu, said the protest was to call on well meaning Nigerians to appeal to the Federal Government to implement the 2009 agreement.
According to him, the agreements include payment of arrears of specialist allowance to qualified hospital-based professionals with effect from January 1,2010, in line with the National Industrial Court ruling, appointment of other health professionals as consultants in their various fields in the health sector and adjustment of the Consolidated Health Workers Salary Scale as the Federal Government did for medical doctors last year.
They took their protest to the palaces of the Osile Oke-Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso and the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, and later to the Governor’s Office. Idowu said, “We decided to take our cause to well meaning Nigerians to help us prevail on the Federal Government to honour the agreement it reached with the union in 2009. “We are professionals and we won’t want to be treated as second class citizens.” He noted that it amounted to double standard for the Federal Government to have increased the salary of doctors, leaving out other health workers.
He said, “We all went to school and we live in the same society. We buy in the same market. So, it is unfair for the government to have increased the salary of doctors and paid them two months arrears, leaving out other health workers. Health is a team work.” The protesting health workers were armed with placards with different inscriptions, such as ‘FG, Nigerians are dying’, ‘Save Nigerians’ health’, ‘Government attend to health’, ‘Health sector, not a death sector’ and ‘Government, attend to health not election.’