“unnecessary, ill-timed and illegal”.
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, made this remarks in a statement signed by Mr Charles Akpan, Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, in the ministry, on Sunday in Abuja.
Ngige expressed the government’s view on the JOHESU strike saying Federal Government had directed that the various unions in the health sector operating under the umbrella of JOHESU should not to go ahead with the strike.
He encouraged the leadership of the various health unions that made up JOHESU to reconsider the plan on the strike by putting the welfare of their patients and Nigeria above every other consideration.
He said : “Parties in disputes are expected not to arm-twist, intimidate or foist helplessness on the other party while negotiations are ongoing as per Sections 8 and 18 of the Trade Dispute Act 2004.”.
On their part, JOHESU leaders, at the end of its meeting with government representatives, including the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN); and Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora, were given Saturday, September 12 to report back to the government’s negotiation team.
But JOHESU in a three-paragraph letter dated September 12 with ref. No. HO/JOHESU/ADM/FMoH/VOL.I/58, entitled: “Re: Notice of 15-day ultimatum/outcome of JOHESU expanded NEC meeting”, agreed to proceed on strike.
The memo sent to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, was signed by JOHESU President, Biobelemoye Josiah; Secretary-General, Dr Silas Adamu; President of Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, Dr Benjamin Akintola; General Secretary, Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Martin Egbanubi, among others.
The document reads, “You would recall that at the end of the meeting held in your office on Thursday, September 10 2020, JOHESU demanded that the outcome of the meeting between JOHESU and the Federal Government be reported back to our expanded NEC meeting and give feedback to the Federal government within 48 hours.
“In the light of the above, the meeting of our expanded NEC was held today, Saturday, September 12 2020. And at the end of the meeting, which was held both physically and virtually, it was unanimously agreed that since nothing concrete was achieved at the said meeting with the Federal Government, that the strike notice is still germane and alive.
“Therefore, the 15-day ultimatum still subsists and with effect from midnight of Sunday, September 13 2020, our members shall withdraw their services due to Federal Government inability to meet their demands. Kindly accept the assurances of our high esteem.”