Strike: Nigerian govt, health workers meeting ends in stalemate
The meeting between the Joint Health Workers Union and the Federal Government ended in a stalemate on Friday.
The union had on Thursday directed its members to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike over the federal government’s failure to address its demands.
JOHESU is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions.
The health workers are demanding improved working conditions in hospitals across the country, among other demands.
The union had in a letter dated May 9 given the federal government a 15-day ultimatum to address the inconsistencies in the ongoing negotiations to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for health workers.
The ultimatum expired at midnight on Thursday.
The National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Mr. Obinna Ogbonna, led the union’s leadership to the meeting held in Abuja while the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire and other officials of the ministry represented the federal government.
READ ALSO: Health workers begin indefinite strike over unresolved demands
In a chat with journalists, Ogbonna said the Ministry of Health convened the meeting after the union declared its strike on Thursday.
He, however, said the meeting was adjourned till next week to allow the incoming government to settle down to the business of running the affairs of the country.
Ogbonna said: “We met with the representatives of the Federal Government at 1:00 p.m. today (Friday). All the people that attended the meeting were from the Ministry of Health except those from the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission.
“ The minister who had already taken a position that it is impossible to give the health workers the adjusted CONHESS presided over the meeting.
“We pointed out to the federal government team that based on the labour law, there is a trade dispute already and if a trade dispute is declared, the interested party should not be the one to preside over the matter anymore because you cannot be a judge in your own matter.”
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