Health workers, under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU, have suspended their seven-day nationwide warning strike. The union had embarked on a warning strike action on 14 September in protest of poor funding and infrastructural decay in the health sector, among others.
Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, JOHESU national chairman, made this known in a statement made available to the press at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Sunday in Abuja.
According to Biobelemoye, the Union has directed all its members to resume work by 21 September and also await further directives.
The union said it decided to suspend the strike, not because its demands have been resolved by the government but to “sustain” the running of Nigeria’s public health systems.
JOHESU, the group of other health workers except for doctors, had embarked on a seven-day warning strike last Monday following the inability of the government to meet its demands which included nonpayment of hazard allowances and inducement allowances to workers in the frontline containing the spread of COVID-19 among others.
The statement read, “I bring fraternal greetings to you from the entire members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA).
“This is to bring to your notice that the 7-day nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) would come to end midnight of today, September 20.
“By this notice, all health workers under the five Unions that make up Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) shall return to work on Monday, September 21, 2020, across all Federal Health Institutions in the country.
“However, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has continued to exhibit a high level of bias/discrimination by refusing to address the demands of our members as presented by JOHESU within the seven days of the warning strike as was done to other bodies in the health sector.
“The next line of action would be decided in due course by the expanded National Executive Council of JOHESU.
”Rather than calling JOHESU for dialogue to resolve the trade dispute, the Federal Government resorted to intimidation and blackmail of the union leaders using all forms of instruments and faceless organisations.
He further said that JOHESU would continue to use all legitimate means to defend the rights and demands for the welfare of its members in the health sector.
“Nigerians should bear us witness that JOHESU has shown high patriotism by demanding that the public health system in Nigeria is sustained and adequately financed for effective, efficient, and affordable healthcare service delivery.
“In view of the above and in line with the resolution of the expanded NEC meeting held physically and virtually today, Sunday, September 20, 2020, I hereby declare that the seven days warning strike is suspended.
“All our members are directed to resume work by Monday, September 21, 2020, while awaiting further directives.
“Finally, I wish to thank all the leaders at all strata and members for their commitment, selflessness, cooperation, and resilience during the seven days warning strike,” he said.