Patients across the nation’s hospitals have a reason to heave a sigh of relief as striking health workers have announced the suspension of the six weeks nationwide strike action.
The suspension is with effect from Thursday, 31st May, 2018.
The suspension is coming after it became clear that the Federal Government was moving against the striking health workers with dismissal.
The health workers under the umbrella body of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) had proceeded on a nationwide strike action on midnight of 17th April, 2018 following the Federal Government inability to honour agreements between both parties. While the strike action lasted government hospitals were only operating skeletal services, as only serious emergency cases were attended to.
However, following the intervention of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the leadership of the unions met Thursday where it was agreed to suspend the strike.
Announcing the suspension of the strike action at the end of the National Executive Council meeting of the unions held in Abuja, Com. Josiah Biobelemoye, National Chairman, JOHESU said the suspension is to pave way for further negotiations to continue on Monday 4th June 2018.
Biobelemoye who briefed the media in the present of the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Dr. Ayuba Wabbara and other leaders of the unions expressed dismay and the insincerity and unseriousness exhibited at the negotiation table by the Government negotiating team which led to the breakdown of further negotiations and unnecessarily prolonged the strike action.
He stressed that JOHESU strike actions is neither ill nor politically motivated but in a bid to save the health sector from imminent collapse
He therefore said that the suspension of the strike action was not as a result of the court injunction but for the sympathy for the people.
He said: “Due to the intervention of His Excellency, the Senate President, Senator (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki who through his love for the suffering masses displayed high level of statesmanship and sincerity of purpose by putting some machineries in place with a view to permanently resolving the issues in contention. JOHESU having considered his intervention after holding just two meetings with leadership, where serious progress were made.
“The various gains from the meetings with His Excellency, the Senate President were presented to the NEC of JOHESU, after an exhaustive deliberations and discussions, the NEC in session approved that the six (6) weeks old strike be suspended this day Thursday, 31st May, 2018 because of the sympathy the Unions have for the suffering Nigerian masses and also to pave way for further negotiations to continue on Monday 4th June, 2018.”
He also added: “We would like to place on record that JOHESU strike actions is neither ill nor politically motivated but in a bid to save the health sector from imminent collapse.”
On his part, Wabara assured the unions of the support of the NLC, stressing that it has justified case.
He noted that there were interventions by people in high places.
He hoped that there will be fairness and justice going forward between the government and unions.