Health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Health Care Professional on Monday threatened to shut down the health sector on September 13, if the government refused to yield to their demands.
The unions lamented that government had continued to treat their issues with levity, noting that the process of shutting down the nation’s health sector will begin with a warning strike on September 13.
The National Chairman of JOHESU, Bio Josiah who spoke to newsmen on behalf of the unions in Abuja urged the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), to take over the negotiations between them and the federal government from the substantive Minister Senator Chris Ngige, whom he accused of compromise.
The Unions insisted on the immediate payment of the shortfall in the COVID-19 allowances of non-clinical staff in the federal health institutions presently pegged at 10 per cent to the agreed 50 per cent of basic salaries paid to all clinical staff in the FHIs.
It also asked states and LGAs that have not domesticated the COVID-19 allowances for their clinical and non-clinical health workers to abide by the agreement without further delay to avoid the breakdown of industrial harmony in their health sector.
The union added, “We demand unconditional payment of all withheld salaries at Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, JUTH, LUTH and the complement of April and May 2018 salaries.
“States and Local Governments are urged to unconditionally pay all outstanding salaries. States are urged to conclude minimum wage negotiations and implementation.
JOHESU further said the FG, states, and local government areas must come up with COVID-19 palliatives for the citizens while improving service delivery and remedial measures to combat failing and decaying infrastructural facilities.
Josiah said the Presidency should direct the Ministry of Health to obey the consent judgment of the National Industrial Court delivered on March 19, 2019.
On the looming strike, he said, “If the Federal Government does not meet these demands by midnight of September 13, 2020, JOHESU will have no other choice than to commence a nationwide seven-day warning strike of our members in all the Federal Health Institutions.
“The states and LG health institutions are placed on red alert for possible entry into the fray if the FG foot-drags in attending to our demands.”
The unions also condemned the hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price, stating that it would worsen the poverty in the country.