… Issues 15-day ultimatum
To press home their demand, the Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU and the Assembly of Healthcare Professionals, AHPA, have issued a 15-day ultimatum from February 3, 2016 to the Federal government to pay attention to their demands or face an industrial action.
In a statement made available to NEWSWATCH TIMES, JOHESU/AHPA which is a coalition of unions constitutes 95 per cent of healthcare providers in the health Industry nationwide.
The statement said that JOHESU is made up of five registered Unions in the health sector namely; Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU).
According to the statement, JOHESU’s demands includes, “the Implementation of the spirit of the new circular on promotion of our members from CONHESS 14 to 15 as directors which places premium on the need to sanction defaulting hospital managements.
Specific steps must be taken by the Head of Service of the Federation to ensure the expedited issuance of an enabling circular authorizing consultancy cadre for health professionals that have adhered to due process, to be vested with consultancy status as a prelude to including this cadre into the schemes of service of these health professionals.
“This must be worked out with the Federal Ministry of Health in line with the spirit of circular on consultancy and specialist allowances Ref. SMH.491/S.2/VOL.II.221 of 29th March, 1976, which authorizes consultancy status for all health professionals, and the condition precedent of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) that provides for a nod of the Federal Ministry of Health for the appointment of consultants,” It reads.
The union however seized the opportunity to remind government, that the Federal Ministry of Health cannot continue to be seen as an impartial abiter that does not disguise its bias towards the preferences of only one profession in a multi-disciplinary sector.
JOHESU said the clamour becomes even more valid against the background that the union caters for the interest of the workforce in the Healthcare industry it represents.
The statement further said that payment of arrears of specialist allowances to qualified hospitals based health professionals with effect from January 1, 2010, should be ensured without any delay whatsoever.
“JOHESUstrongly demands that the Federal Ministry of Health must now come up with a circular on residency programmes for all health professionals in Nigeria to ensure professional capacity development in the health sector as this will strengthen our national health system and stem medical tourism.
“Immediate and full payment of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10 which remains outstanding since the year 2010. Immediate and unconditional release of the circular on adjustment of salary since January 2014 and immediate payment of at least two months arrears, while the balance is accommodated with proven evidence in the 2016 budget.”
Giving a background of its demands, the statement reads, “this coalition of JOHESU embarked on an industrial action in November 2014 which stretched into 2015 February when it was suspended at the instance of the former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, whom JOHESU met in February, 2015.
“The strike was suspended as a result of assurances by the Jonathan that our issues shall be looked into and our demands met. From January 2014 to December, 2014, series of meetings were held at the office of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and other Federal Government Officials in attendance.
“Consequent upon the suspension of JOHESU/AHPA strike on February 2, 2015, and subsequent meetings held at the levels of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the immediate past President on the listed issues without any resolution; and bearing in mind that the leadership of JOHESU/AHPA has exercised enough restraints and our members have been patient enough with the Federal Government on the issues at stake; it is important we put on record that all our demands that led to the strike are still pending which still makes our members restive,” the statement added.
The letter titled “Resumption of suspended industrial action by Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) AND Assembly of Health Care Professionals” was signed by Com. Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, National President, MHWUN; Com. Silas G.Adamu, Ag.Secretary General, MHWUN; Com. Adeniji A.A, National President, NANNM; Com. Shetima Thomas A, Ag. Secretary Genral NANNM; Com. (Dr) B. A. Akintola, President, SSAUTHRAI; Com. Akinade M. O. General Secretary, SSAUTHRAI; Com. (Dr). Ogbonna O. C, National President, NUAHP; Com. Obisesan O. A, General Secretary, NUAHP; Com. Chris Ani, National President, NASU; Com. Peters Adeyemi, General Secretary, NASU and Com. (Dr) G. C. Okara, President, AHPA.
The letter was addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Abuja, further said: “In view of the failure of the present Federal Government to accede to our demands as itemised above, the Joint health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professionals (AHPA) at their joint meeting, held on Wednesday, 27th January, 2016, at the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria Secretariat, Abuja, resolved to give a 15-day ultimatum beginning from 3rd February, 2016.
“It is our hope and desire that the Federal Government would take necessary steps to ensure that our demands are met on or before Tuesday, February 17, 2016 in order to forestall the impending avoidable industrial action,” it warned.
It was copied to the Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, Minister of Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Minister of Labour and Productivity, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Inspector General of Police; Director General, State Security Service; the Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and the Director General, Budget Office.
This story was published in Newswatch Times on February 13, 2016.