BY -VICTORIA OJEME
ABUJA – The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), a conglomerate of several health care associations in the health sector, will commence an indefinite strike action Wednesday.
The National President of National Union of Allied Health Professional (NUAP), Felix Faniran, who is also the Vice President of JOHESU, disclosed this to Journalists Tuesday in Abuja.
Also, the long lasting age-long battle between the JOHESU and the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on consultancy status has finally being laid to rest as the federal government has, on Thursday,formally given the health workers a circular to that effect.
With this circular, from now forward, other health workers have the right to become consultants in their various fields.
According to Faniran, “We held a meeting with the SGF on Thursday, the government only release one of the many circulars we told them to release. The one they release was the one in respect to consultancy status which we say they should correct which they have now corrected.
“Other health care professionals are recognized 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,” he explained.
While giving reasons why the JOHESU will go for an indefinite strike from Wednesday, Faniran said.
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.
“Since the government don’t 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 to 2014, they said it was not in budget for 2014 and that we have to wait till 2015, we are all tied of this rigmarolling.
“The issue retirement age, we don’t need to ague on this one. 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.
“Despite our effort to convince them they refused and said they will wait till December when one committee will meet at state level. We are not working for the states. If the federal government has entered an agreement with us since May 2012, why can’t they issue circular to that effect.
“So, having disagreed on all other issues, the entire unions,
all the other four unions that made of the JOHESU
have now decided to go on indefinite strike from Wednesday next week.”
It would be recalled that NUAHP has been on strike since October 16.