Except the federal government intervenes, the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), a conglomerate of several health care associations in the health sector, has said it will go on with its threat to embark on indefinite strike starting from November 12. The National President of National Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAP), Felix Faniran, who is also the Vice -President of JOHESU, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja at the weekend, stressing that the union would go on with the strike if nothing was done.
JOHESU’s decision to embark on the strike came as the battle between the union and the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on consultancy status had finally being laid to rest with the federal government last Thursday, formally giving the health workers a circular to that effect. With the circular, from now on, other health workers have the right to become consultants in their various fields. Faniran said: “We held a meeting with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)on Thursday. the government only released one of the many circulars we told them to release. The one they released was the one in respect to consultancy status which we said they should correct which they have now corrected.
“Other health care professionals are recognised as consultants and that it is their professional bodies that have the right to dictate who should be a consultant or not and not the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and that such people shall be qualified to receive specialist allowance. That is what we have gotten.” Explaining why the JOHESU would go for an indefinite strike from Wednesday, Faniran regretted that: “All other issues, particularly, that our salary which was supposed to be adjusted on January this year in the same line with our colleagues –the NMA members, who have had their own adjusted and whose circulars have not only been issued-but they are already enjoying a new salary package, our circular is yet to be released.
‘We are in the same sector but they are enjoying new salary while we have not gotten the circular yet, let alone implementing it.’ “Also, this is already November, budgets have been prepared in all institutions and ours have been prepared on old rate, so we can no longer wait.” He stated that: “Since the government does not have an answer to this and the arrears of CONHESS 10 Skipping, they also have no answer to it, they are just compiling the list whereas they have compiled this list long ago. It was supposed to be paid in 2013, they could not pay, we waited till 2014, they said it was not in budget for 2014 and that we have to wait till 2015, we are all tired of this rigmarol.
“The issue of retirement age, we don’t need to argue about it. There has been a government White Paper in 1981 that whatever is happening in the universities should be the same condition of service in the University Teaching Hospitals. So, since the university is already enjoying 65 to 70 years retirement, it should be made automatic to the University Teaching Hospitals, since they are sister institutions.