The Joint Health Sector Unions/Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have declared an indefinite strike.
According to the aggrieved workers, the strike is as a result of the failure of the federal government to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) and other demands.
JOHESU/AHPA is a conglomerate of four registered trade Unions which include Medical and Health workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institution(NASU).
Declaring the indefinite strike Thursday morning in Abuja, the Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Dr. I Ogbonna Chimela, said, “Consequent upon the nonchalant, bias and lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Ministry of Health against JOHESU members and the resolution of the expanded National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the unions held on Monday 8th, May 2023, our members in Federal Health Institutions nationwide are hereby directed to withdraw their services indefinitely commencing from 00.00 hour on Thursday 25th May 2023.”
The unions had earlier on May 9 through a letter to the Federal Ministry of Health, giving the federal government a 15-day ultimatum to meet their demands.
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Ogbonna said the issues in dispute were: Adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS; payment of peculiar allowances to health workers; immediate and unconditional implementation of the Consultant Cadre circular for pharmacists in all all federal health institutions; payment of withheld salaries of members in Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) and outstanding April and May 2018 salaries of members in Federal Medical Centre, Azare; as well as payment of health workers excluded in payment of wage new hazard allowances.
He said the mode of payment of all health workers in Nigeria is Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) while Physicians are on the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).
He said, “As at 2009, the Memorandum of Understanding at the inception of these two salary structures and subsequent Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Federal Government and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) established strongly that once there is an adjustment in any of the salary structure, the other structure should be adjusted commensurately.”
The unions called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately approve and implement the technical committee report on the adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS).
They said “the unending vicious cycle of tyranny vested against members of affiliate of the Joint Health Sector Unions members of the respective af (JOHESU) in the health sector by the physicians dominated and oriented Federal Ministry of Health. ”
The unions also called on the National Assembly especially Senators – elect and House of Representatives Members — elect to only facilitate the appointment of seasoned administrators and managers of cognate experience as ministers in charge of the health sector.
“This remains the only way to normalize and do away with the perennial entropy that continue to engulf the health sector where productivity is at the lowest hub,” they said.