Health workers have threatened to stop all “skeletal and concessional services” in all healthcare facilities, after the federal government failed to attend a scheduled meeting between both sides on Monday.
The workers under the aegis of Joint Health Workers Union, told newsmen recently that the suspension of activity in the wake of the strike was to ensure “total compliance”, describing federal government’s attitude as “lack of commitment and seriousness.”
The association is demanding that the federal governmentimplement agreements reached since 2009 and several rulings of the National Industrial Court in their favour. The chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said, that two previous meetings since the strike started on November 12 have been “without meaningful progress.
The union said key officials of the federal health ministry, from the minister and permanent secretary to directors “were conspicuously absent, thereby stalling the meeting.”
It has also accused government of threatening and intimidating its members, in effect pushing “double standards” different from how government treated doctors who went on strike earlier this year.
“JOHESU has fulfilled all righteousness and our strike action is both legal and legitimate,” the unions insisted. “The invocation of “no work, no pay” by the Federal Government is totally flawed and holds no water, whatsoever.”
JOHESU cited calls to police by hospital management in Lagos state to quell picketing healthworkers, and the denial of pay for 28 selected union leaders in Federal Medical Centres in Birnin Kudu and Bida.
“We have specific cases that we have taken stock of, but the bottom line is when NMA did theirs, they supported them, and those issues were not issues. This is a dispute of rights, arising from failure of government to implement collective agreements.”
The union called on its members to prepare for a “long drawn battle, if need be,” insisting it “will not turn back until victory is achieved.”
As at the time of this report, the federal government is yet respond to these claims by the union.