JOHESU Threatens Strike, Gives 7-day Ultimatum

The Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Health Care Professionals (JOHESU), has threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action tagged Operation Alligator Bite over what it termed the Federal Government’s failure to meet its demands.
It said it tagged the planned action Operation Alligator Bite because it would be more severe than the Operation Python Dance launched by the Nigerian army in the South-East.
The National Chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Josiah Joy Biobelemoye told journalists Wednesday that even when the leadership of the union honoured a letter given to them from the health ministry for a meeting at 2pm on Tuesday, the Minister of Health was nowhere to be found till about 3:30pm they decided to leave the place for another meeting.
He said, “I welcome you all to this press conference which is intended to inform Nigerians of our intention to down tools as from the midnight of Wednesday 20th September, 2017 if all our demands over which we have been negotiating since 2012, we’re not met.
“On the 10th May, 2012, agreements were reached on issues concerning our members. Issues upon which we could not agree were referred to the NICN.
“We were in court till August 2013 when judgment was given in favour of JOHESU on skipping of CONHESS 10. As we speak, the Federal Government has not paid arrears of the skipping to our members whereas the Resident Doctors who were neither a party to the case or are on CONHESS insisted they should skip on CONMESS and arrears paid to them while the original beneficiaries are not paid.
“The Federal Ministry of Health has been frusttrating the implementation of the court judgments by introducing same scale promotion.
“For instance when members are promoted from CONHESS 9 to 11 at subsequent promotions from CONHESS 11 to 11. This is unacceptable “Efforts made through several committees to get the agreements reached implemented were frustrated often by the Federal Ministry of Health who is always protecting the interest of the medical doctors.”
The health workers are demanding adjustment of CONHESS salary as done for CONMESS since January 2014, abolition of scale to scale promotion and payment of outstanding arrears promotion, sskipping and relativity Others are autonomy for teaching and specialist hospitals in the country and other issues, Iimplementation of all court judgments and review of retirement age from 60-65 years as done for the tertiary education sector.
He said that the Teaching Hospitals Act gave autonomy to the various Tertiary hospitals as they have their separate Boards of Management different from the governing councils of the universities.
“However, rather than the CEOs, the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee, CMAC, the Deputy CMAC and all Clinical heads being full time employees of the teaching hospitals they are appointed from the Honorary Consultants from the universities who are full time staff of the Universities.
“Some of them also have private hospitals and are therefore not committed to the growth of the hospitals as a servant cannot serve two masters at the same time, hence, most of the works in the hospitals are carried out by the Resident Doctors who are Postgraduate Medical Students.
“In conclusion, we are therefore left with no option than to give a final 7 days ultimatum with effect from Thursday 14th September, 2017, and if by the midnight of Wednesday, 20th September, 2017, our demands are not met, all our members nationwide are called upon to embark on indefinite total strike action”
In another letter, titled, “Looming Nationwide Industrial Action: Request for Audience,” and signed by its National Chairman and the National Secretary, Ekpebor Florence, demanded an audience with President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
JOHESU, in the letter to the legislature, is seeking an intervention to avert the planned strike which it said would definitely affect the health sector adversely.
According to the statement, “We write on behalf of the leadership of Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Health Care Professionals, a body which makes up about 95 per cent of health workers and health care providers, to seek for your intervention in the protracted demands and agitations between JOHESU and the Federal Government since 2014 by granting us urgent audience on Wednesday, September 13, at 10 a.m. or any other date not later than a week before September 30.
“We are compelled to seek for your intervention so as to avert indefinite industrial action in the health industry. We are aware of the sensitive and important nature of our service to human lives, hence our proactive measure in prevention rather than curative.
“JOHESU is aware of your recent laudable role in intervening and resolving of the issues of the medical doctors while they were on strike.
“While thanking you for your kind approval to meet with us on September 13, accept the assurances of our best wishes.”

Author: News Editor

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