SAN FRANCISCO, September 13, (THEWILL) – Members of the Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU, on Wednesday announced their intention to begin a nationwide strike from Wednesday, September 20, in response to government’s failure to meet its demands.
It had earlier threatened to embark on an indefinite industrial action that would shut down operations in public hospitals as a result of the delay by the federal government to meet the demands it made in 2014.
The demands of the union include payment of arrears of specialist allowances and the upgrade of their members due for promotion.
JOHESU tagged the planned industrial action ‘Operation Alligator Bite’, saying it would be more severe than ‘Operation Python Dance’ which the Nigerian Army launched in the South-east.
The group, had in a letter written to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, threatened that if the federal government refused to earnestly
address its agitations, it would shut down health care facilities nationwide.
In the letter entitled, “Looming Nationwide Industrial Action: Request for Audience,” and signed by its National Chairman, Joy Josiah, and the National Secretary, Ekpebor Florence, JOHESU sought an audience with Saraki and Dogara on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
The letter read: “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.”
The threat is coming a few days after the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, embarked on strike.
Although the government had negotiated with the leadership of NARD reaching a resolution to meet some of their demands, the action is still on as a meeting of the NARD leadership in Abuja on Tuesday was stalemated.