Seek accelerated attention to unmet demands
By Chioma Obinna
The current industrial crisis in the nation’s health sector may take another dangerous twist following a fresh 15-day ultimatum issued to the Federal government by the Joint Health Sectors Unions, JOHESU, and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations, AHPA, to meet demands.
It could be recalled that JOHESU and AHPA had earlier suspended their planned industrial action billed to commence at 12 am on Saturday, September 18, 2021, over unmet demands following an understanding it had with the government.
But rising from their emergency meeting of the expanded National Executive Council, NEC, the Unions on Saturday gave the government another 15 days to accelerate the process and fulfil their demands within the speculated time.
In a communiqué from the expanded NEC comprising the Presidents and General Secretaries of affiliate unions and professional associations, NEC members of affiliate unions at the State and Branch levels and signed by the Acting National General Secretary, JOHESU, Comrade Mathew Ajorutu, the NEC-in-Session unanimously adopts a resolution to step down the notice of strike due to expire mid-night 17th September 2021 and issue a fresh notice of fifteen days.
They further critically appraised the reports of JOHESU negotiation and conciliation meetings with the Federal Government since the declaration of the trade dispute through the 15-day strike notice issued on September 2.
Noting the appeal from President, Muhammadu Buhari on the need to show understanding with his administration and his pledge to pay any debt owed health workers, they insisted that the Federal Ministry of Health should ensure speedy circularisation of all establishment and welfare matters as agreed during negotiation meetings.
According to the communique, “The Federal Government should ensure that the new data for the computation of the adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure, CONHESS, for JOHESU members are completed and submitted to the “High-Level Body” (HLB) of the FG not later than Wednesday, 22nd September 2021 as agreed.
“NEC-in-Session urges the Federal Government to ensure that the “High-Level Body” (HLB) complete and submit the computation of the adjusted CONHESS for inclusion in the 2022 budget within the 30th September 2021 submission window.
“NEC-in-Session urges the Federal Government to reciprocate the patriotic humanitarian gesture of JOHESU in the interest of the larger Nigerian masses to expeditiously resolve all the demands within the fifteen days window.”
Disclosing that it had already received and examined reports of congresses held at various health facilities across the country on the mobilisation for the strike, they commended all their members for their commitment and understanding towards the struggle for better working conditions, improved healthcare services and social justice for all.