By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITY â€” STRIKING health workers in Edo State have called off their over one month strike action, following the intervention of civil society groups and the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.
The decision to call off the strike action was sequel to a town hall meeting organised by African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, in collaboration with the NLC, in Benin City, Monday, where a 70-year-old man wept openly, appealing to the striking workers to call off the strike action in the interest of the downtrodden,Â who are not able to afford the cost of medical services in private hospitals.
There was heated argument between the state government representatives and the Joint Action Committee, JAC, of the Edo State Hospital Management Board, which called out its members on strike.
The Health workers represented by Dr. Quincy Atohengbe, explained that they decided to embark on the strike action after all efforts to get the government meet with them on the table for discussion failed. He lamented that â€œall correspondence made to government on the issue were never replied and if this government is for the people, we expected that they should have taken serious action all these months.â€
But the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Moses Momoh, who represented the state government, said â€œthe strike was too hasty because they did not allow government to negotiate with them, after the state government had promised it will pay, we were just waiting for the Federal Government to commence the payment before we discuss how we can achieve our owns. But it was shocking that the health workers decided to embark on the strike action with out meeting with government for negotiationâ€.
The town hall meeting urged government to enter into serious negotiations with the health workers after the strike must have been suspended and that negotiations must be resolved within six weeks as against the three months earlier requested by the state government