The Federal Government has threatened to sanction members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) over its planned strike.
The union had threatened to embark on a nationwide seven-day warning strike if the government fails to meet their demands which include payment of hazard and inducement allowance by mid-night of Sunday, September 13.
In a statement signed by its national chairman, Joy Josiah, JOHESU said the warning strike will only involve federal institutions while the states and local government health institutions will be placed “on red alert for possible entry into the fray if the federal government foot-drags in attending to our demands”.
But speaking on Friday in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, asked the union to shelve its planned industrial action.
Ngige argued that the Federal Government has the powers to sanction union over behaviour he described as “off the line.”
“As part of the government, we have our own powers to sanction unions. We told them yesterday we have our powers. It is here, the powers of the President and the Minister of Labour to sanction unions,” Ngige said while displaying the Labour Laws.
“When the existence is no longer beneficial on the interest of the nation, especially those on essential services, we don’t need to all flex our muscles and say this is our power.
“We don’t want to use it. We don’t want to come close to even using it. The way the government has been made a punching bag, everybody punches and says this government is deceitful, this government has not done this even when we have done them.”
On his part, JOHESU president vowed that the union will go ahead with its plans to down tools should the government fail to address their concerns.
“Laws of the International Labour Organisation on no work no pay and all that have been selectively used on us.
“I want to state it clearly that the JOHESU leadership here, we are ready to even pay the sacrifice of going to prison because that is the last of the threat. It was said before and today it is also being quoted,” Josiah said adding that their demands are legitimate.