Abuja – The Federal Government on Monday went into a closed-door meeting with representatives of Joint Health Staff Union (JOHESU) to resolve issues that led to the strike.
Members of the union had embarked on an indefinite industrial action on Thursday Aug. 22.
The meeting is being attending by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu; Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Aji,
Others were representatives of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and JOHESU.
Shortly before the meeting, Wogu told the media that he was optimistic that the meeting would end the strike which started on Thursday.
He said the ministry would not fail in its reconciliatory and mediatory efforts aimed at ensuring that issues that led to the strike were resolved amicably.
“I hope that the strike would be called off at the end of the meeting,” he said.
On his part, Chukwu said the ministry was ready to dialogue with the union to end the strike in the interest of all Nigerians, particularly patients.
“The whole issue is that we need to work in the interest of patients,” he said.
Aji, also called on the parties to sheath their sword and embrace dialogue.
“We do know that the era of table banging is over. It is better we use our brains to solve challenges like this.
“The good thing is that all the parties are around and it is not a time for making of speeches but a time to address critical issues,” he said.
But Mr Moshood Akinade, the Secretary-General of Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospital, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRAI), said JOHESU was ready to call off the strike provided their demands were met.
He said the union embarked on the strike to push home the need for government to meet 10 issues it had presented for the past 10 years.
“It is true we started the strike in the mid-night of Aug. 21. The strike was embarked upon, based on 10 issues that have been lingering for the past 10 years,” he said.
He commended Wogu for his effort at ensuring that the difference was resolved.
NAN recalls that JOHESU, which is the health workers’ umbrella, called out its members on an indefinite strike effective from 12 midnight of Aug. 21, following the inability of the Federal Government to resolve the lingering issues between it and the health workers.
The union had on July 22 issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement the recent ruling by the National Industrial Court (NIC) on the 2009 agreement between the union and government. (NAN)