JOHESU inform its members to prepares for a nationwide strike

A very critical decision making meeting of The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) is currently in progress today Thursday 31st January 2019 to straighten out modalities to resume their suspended nationwide strike action.

JOHESU has found it necessary to resume their nationwide strike action which was suspended May last year. They are to issue a statement for the commencement of the nationwide strike action after the meeting as the ultimatum of two (2) weeks which was given to the government to meet their demands elapse today.

According to the National Chairman of JOHESU, Ogbonna Chimela, the format of the nationwide strike action will be ironed out during the meeting holding today.

Since 2014, JOHESU which is a body of health workers with the exception of medical doctors has been asking for improve salary and a better working conditions for its members. These demands have led to several strike actions which were called-off on mere promises by the government.

One of the notable actions taken by JOHESU was when they decided to embark on a nationwide strike on 17 April, 2018 which lasted for six (6) weeks which resulted to many deaths and millions of patients were left without care for a period of six (6) weeks. The strike action was suspended by JOHESU on May 31, 2018 after a series of appeal by the general public, federal, state and local government.

This strike action was called off after series of negotiation and promises by the government. JOHESU has deemed it necessary to embark on this strike since the promises made by government had not been fulfilled.

After the May 2018 nationwide strike action was suspended, the government has since been silent on the issue and refuse to commence negotiation. After waiting for more than seven (7) months to reopen negotiation which the government has shown indifference, JOHESU issued a 15 days ultimatum to the government to reopen negotiations but government has failed to called on JOHESU to reopen negotiation.

According to Mr. Ogbonna Chimela, “The law provides that during the period of an ultimatum, it is the responsibility of the government to invite the aggrieved party to a meeting but they (government) have acted as if the ultimatum was not given them.” During the period of the ultimatum the Federal Ministry of Health which is the parent body of JOHESU has not shown any concern.

JOHESU through Mr. Ogbonna Chimela stated that the health workers are not deterred by the no work, no pay rule which is the usual threat when workers decide to embark on any industrial action. Mr. Ogbonna Chimela stated that “The government in their usual spirit has kept quiet and maybe they are still relying on their old tactics of no work no pay. He stated that that will never deter the union from asking them to do the needful.”

Mr. Ogbonna Chimela added that the federal government invoked the ‘no work no pay rule’ rule on health workers during their suspended six weeks’ strike last year. Upon resumption, the government did not pay them for the period they were on strike (two months).

The action of the government was based on Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act which states that where any worker takes part in a strike, he shall not be entitled to any wages or other remuneration for the period of the strike, and any such period shall not count for the purpose of reckoning the period of continuous employment and all rights dependent on continuity of employment shall be prejudicially affected accordingly.

Mr. Ogbonna Chimela noted that the rule was erroneously implemented on JOHESU members because they followed all the due process before the strike action. He however stated that the two months salaries were not paid but that will not deterred JOHESU members from demanding for their entitlements. He stated that they are willing to go on strike again in as much as it is a call for justice and fair play.

Mr. Ogbonna Chimela stated that the JOHESU members are ready to make more sacrifices for what is due to them. He also added that two months’ salary has not gone down the drain as it is one of their demands in the ultimatum; it is part of their demands.

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