The warning strike called by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) yesterday has been described as illegal by the Federal Government.
The health workers commenced a seven-day warning strike at the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum given to the Federal Government to meet its demands, which issuance of the implementation of circular on salary adjustment done for the medical doctors and implementation of all agreements of May 10, 2012, by past administration and issuance of circular for the implementation of specialist allowance for members in line with the 2009 agreement.
The communique announcing the warning strike was issued after JOHESU’s meeting with the Federal Government.
The communique signed by Mr. Biobelemoye Josiah, JOHESU National President, who is also leader of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) and Mr. Abdurafiu Adeniyi, National President, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNMW), noted that the meeting with the FG in Abuja did not result in a compromise.
Reacting to the decision, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, in a statement last night, said the government is committed to the full implementation of the Trade Dispute Act.
The minister noted that the negotiation was already ongoing with the unions over their demands, reminding the health workers that embarking on strike when negotiation is ongoing, is illegal.
The statement said:
“The attention of the Federal Government has been drawn to the activities of a group of trade unions operating as an unregistered Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) under the Federal Ministry of Health, which has declared a seven-day warning strike effective today, June 22nd, 2016.
“The Federal Government wishes to state unambiguously that the so called warning strike is ill-advised and in bad faith more so as the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has since waded into the matter and is in fact, in negotiation with the Ministry of Health and the affected Health unions.
“We wish to add that we are fully committed to the implementation of the Trade Dispute Act, hence, the overriding need for these unions to ask their members to return to work immediately as negotiation continues next week, Thursday, June 29, 2016 as agreed at the last joint conciliatory meeting of June 21, 2016.
“It is important to add at this juncture that there is nothing like ‘warning strike’ as strike is strike and must follow all procedures as clearly stipulated in the labour laws. Seven days of illegal absence from work is tantamount to abandonment of work and we therefore appeal to the members of these unions to attend to their duties in the various hospitals and health establishments through the country”.