Senate Meets With JOHESU, Pledges To Ensure Strike Is Called Off

 

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has said that the Senate and the National Assembly, would ensure that the right thing is done to end the strike embarked upon by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU).

He said it is not in the interest of the country to have its hospitals closed adding that the Senate would work with all stakeholders to ensure that the strike is called off.

The Senate President disclosed this after a meeting with the leadership of JOHESU where he listened to their grievances and demands, on Friday and met with the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole and the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, to hear their own side of the issue.

While meeting with the JOHESU leadership led by its Chairman, Comrade Biobelemonye Joseph, the President of the Senate, pledged that the Senate would ensure that the right thing is done to end the strike.

The Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate, Sanni Onogu, in a statement in Abuja, said Saraki’s meeting with Adewole and Ngige was meant to hear their side of the issue and to forge a way forward, not only to end the strike but to ensure that there is a lasting peace and industrial harmony in the nation’s health institutions.

 

“Our interest here in the Senate and the National Assembly, in general, is to find a solution to this problem. It is not in the interest of the country for us to have our hospitals closed and we must work to ensure they are reopened promptly.

“I have heard your remarks, I will spend sometimes to discuss with you and get more details to see how we can put an end to this strike.

“On our own part, we will bring all parties involved together to ensure that where commitments have been made, those who made the commitments honour them.

“The only thing I can assure you is that we will make sure that the right thing is done and that this matter is resolved,” he said.

NMA Accuses JOHESU Of Sabotage Over Lingering Strike

Health, NMA, Nigerian Medical Association

 

 

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has accused the members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) of sabotage and fabricating stories making outrageous demands from the Federal Government.

The NMA is blaming the JOHESU on why the industrial action embarked upon has continued to linger on.

According to the NMA, the strike situation has affected health services in some government hospitals across the country.

At this news conference in Abuja, members of the NMA described the industrial action as an act targeted at them.

The association insisted that the crux of the matter is agitations for equal pay with the medical doctors, an allegation that JOHESU leadership denies.
The striking health workers resumed negotiations with the Federal Government on Tuesday behind closed doors.

However, a statement from the Ministry of Labour and Employment after that meeting urged the JOHESU members to obey a court order that allegedly directed the striking health workers to suspend their action with 24 hours, a development that JOHESU have also responded to.

The endless strike in the health sector is already taking its toll on patients, and the apparent power play between the NMA, JOHESU and the federal government is obviously not in the interest of patients who want the crisis resolved in immediately.

At Least 19 JOHESU Members Injured In Road Accident

At Least 19 JOHESU Members Injured In Road Accident
This photo shows one of the injured victims of the auto-crash which occurred along the Benin-Auchi Road on May 19, 2018.

 

Some members of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) chapter of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) were involved in an accident along the Benin-Auchi Road on Saturday.

Nineteen out of the 40 health workers were said to have been severely injured and rushed to the Otibho Okhai Hospital in Irrua, Edo State, where they were being treated by doctors and consultants on duty.

The victims were said to be on their way to a function in Auchi when the accident occurred.

The President of the Association of Resident Doctors at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Dr Esteem Tagar, who confirmed the incident to Channels Television, said no death was recorded in the accident.

Meanwhile, the health sector union has refused to call off its industrial action which is now in its fourth week.

The union had, however, suspended the strike in Lagos, Kano and Yobe states, where the governments were said to have complied with the demand for salary adjustment.

NMA Says JOHESU Is Illegal, Faults Negotiation With FG

Health, NMA, Nigerian Medical Association

 

The Kaduna state branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has asked the Federal Government not to enter any negotiation with the Joint Health Sector Workers Union (JOHESU) over the ongoing strike embarked upon by the union.

The Kaduna NMA described the group as an illegal and non-professional body which should therefore not be recognized by the government.

Chairman of the association Dr Abdulrahaman Shehu, made this known on Thursday at a news conference in Kaduna.

According to him, the purpose of the strike is to sabotage the genuine effort of the government towards ensuring a lasting industrial harmony and development of the country’s health sector.

Speaking further, he described the agitation by the health workers for equal salary and rank with medical doctors as laughable and unrealistic.

Shehu, therefore, stated that any attempt by the Federal Government to distort the existing agreement it entered with the medical doctors in 2014 will be resisted by the association.

He also appealed to other healthcare workers in the country to stay within their roles as team players in the nation’s health sector, noting that their quest for headship in any aspect of clinical practice is uncalled for and has only brought untold hardship to patients and their relatives.

His comments come after the health workers had a meeting with the Federal Government on Wednesday night, to bring an end to the strike which has last for about a month.

The meeting which was chaired by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, and Prof Issac Adewole, Minister of Health, was said to have ended abruptly after some aggrieved members stormed out of the conference room.

The session is however expected to continue today (May, 17, 2018).

Meanwhile, some groups have faulted the government for what they described as its failure to act fast and resolve the lingering strike.

One of such is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who on Tuesday said “the refusal by President Muhammadu Buhari to address the devastating strike action by health workers across the country, is a clear manifestation of insensitivity to the plight and suffering of Nigerians.”

The Party, however, pleaded with the health workers to be more open to ways to solve the problem, so as to “forestall an outbreak of epidemic and health crisis”.

JOHESU Strike: Patients Beg FG To Intervene

Imo, Health,
file photo

 

Following the strike embarked upon by Joint Health Sector Union to drive home their demands, hospital activities in Kogi state have been paralysed as patients appeal to the Federal Government to wade into the current situation in the health sector.

At the Federal Medical Center in Lokoja, nurses and health workers have all complied with the strike while some of the health workers who were making a concerted effort to render services to the patients are hindered by the members of the union.

The Joint Action Committee of All Registered Committee and Union of Kogi State specialist hospital (JACK)had last year October went on strike for non-payment of salaries by the Kogi state government, having called off the strike early this year, doctors and nurses where still seen carrying placards with inscriptions “Work To Rule” seating in their offices without attending to patients.

A visit by our correspondent to FMC Lokoja, shows activities have been paralysed by the strike action, patients can no longer be seen, while most of the wards are locked up, union members are on the ground to ensure compliance by their members.

The FMC JOHESU chairman appealed to Federal Government to do the needful, so that they can resume back to work.

JOHESU Protests ‘Illegal’ Salary Deduction In FMC Owerri

FILE PHOTO

The Joint Health Sector Union Workers (JOHESU) at the Federal Medical Centre, (FMC), Owerri has accused the management of illegal deduction of September salary without any directive from the Federal Government.

The health workers disclosed this during a protest carried out within the hospital premises on Tuesday, November 21.

The workers were seen carrying placards with various inscription insisting that the management of the institution should do the needful. They also accused the management of delay in the release of the senior staff promotion list, high-handedness and victimization of staff.

READ ALSO: FG Urges JOHESU Not To Embark On Strike

The Public Relations Officer of the Union, Solomon Nwafuru said the management should regularise their salaries for peace and harmony to reign in the centre.

All efforts to get the management to respond to the allegations proved abortive as the Public Relations Officer, Jesinta Achonu said the management is not ready to speak on the matter, until further notice.

Strike: Resident Doctors Beg States Not To Jeopardize FG Agreement

Following the restoration of relative industrial peace in the health sector, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is appealing to state governors not to jeopardize the terms of settlement brokered by the Federal Government.

The President of NARD, Ugochukwu Chinaka raised concerns over the development in some teaching Federal and State hospitals which may adversely affect the agreement sealed with the Federal Government.

READ ALSO: Health Workers Union, JOHESU Suspends Nationwide Strike

Chinaka said, “We are advising all noncompliant chief executives officers to eschew actions inimical to the present peace to avoid further escalation.

“We are committed to the full implementation of the agreement with the Federal Government and nothing must happen with that agreement. All that we have agreed should be implemented to the letter.

Health Workers Union, JOHESU Suspends Nationwide Strike

The Joint Health Sector Union has suspended its industrial action in principle.

The suspension follows a conciliation meeting between its leadership and representatives of the Federal Government in Abuja on Saturday.

Consequently, the union has asked its members across the country to resume work on Wednesday next week after a meeting of its executive members to ratify the decision on Tuesday.

Health workers under the union had started an industrial action on September 21, a day after it declared the strike.

They went on strike one week after the Federal Government resolved the dispute with resident doctors.

The union had demanded the revamp of infrastructure in the tertiary health institutions; report of the inter-ministerial sub-committee on critical matters in the health sector; professional autonomy; among others.

Saturday’s meeting between the leadership of the union and representatives of the Federal Government was the second reconciliatory meeting between both sides.

The first meeting between both sides earlier in the week had ended in a deadlock with both sides disagreeing on the legality of the strike.

At the meeting which was chaired by the Federal Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and Health Minister, Issac Adewole, Ngige accused the health workers of failing to abide by the country’s labour laws.

But the union insisted that no labour law had been violated by their action.

Both ministers were absent at Saturday’s meeting and were represented by the Minister of State for Labour and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.

The Joint Health Sector Workers Union is made up of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Senior Staff Association of Universities’ Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, among others.

FG Holds Another Meeting With Striking Health Workers

The Federal Government is currently holding another conciliatory meeting with striking health workers.

This second conciliatory meeting is holding after the first meeting which was held on September 27, ended in deadlock.

The meeting is chaired by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige. Ngige and his Ministry of Health-counterpart, Professor Isaac Adewole, are said to be absent at the meeting today. They are represented by the Minister of State for Labour and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.

READ ALSO: FG’s Meeting With Striking Health Workers Ends In Deadlock

The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) is currently on strike, demanding among other issues, that the government pay earned salary arrears of their members

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FG’s Meeting With Striking Health Workers Ends In Deadlock

There appears not to be any headway in the negotiation between the Federal Government and the striking health workers in the country.

At the end of their reconciliation meeting in Abuja, which was chaired by the Federal Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and Health Minister, Issac Adewole, both parties differed over the legality of the ongoing industrial action by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).

While the Minister of Labour criticised the health workers for not following the provisions of existing labour laws, the union insists that no labour law has been violated by their action.

“Workers that are in Energy, Medicine, and Allied medical professionals and those that their action will cause danger to health are the people that are called essential services. For those who are in essential services, Doctors, pharmacists, nurses, technologists and those who have anything to do with the hospital are on essential service.

“So, when those who are in essential services go on strike, like the doctors did about four weeks ago, and you following suit, it gives us a lot of worry, especially when those strikes are not done according to the labour law,” Ngige said.

The Union in response disagreed with the Labour Minister saying, they violated no law with them saying, “We waited patiently for 30 days. We notified the government. After 30 days, we still gave 7 days and that was the final ultimatum.”

The union is demanding among other issues, that the government pay earned salary arrears of their members.

FG Urges JOHESU Not To Embark On Strike

Health Minister Suspends Eight Top NHIS Officials
File Photo: Isaac Adewole

The Federal Government has appealed to the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) not to embark on its industrial action in the interest of Nigerians.

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, in a statement, urged the health workers to consider the less privileged who could not afford healthcare services in the private hospitals.

He assured them that President Muhammed Buhari’s administration would continue to do everything humanly possible to guarantee quality and affordable healthcare delivery services to the people.

The minister was surprised at the strike as he said the Federal Ministry of Health, as well as the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, had had series of meetings with the leadership of JOHESU.

He said that most of their demands had been met, which include the payment of promotion arrears that pre-dated President Muhammad Buhari’s administration.

Professor Adewole, however, admitted that other issues raised by the health workers were being deliberated upon with the leadership of the Union.