Health workers, on Wednesday, protested in the Federal Capital Territory with a threat to embark on an indefinite strike from midnight if the Federal Government fails to meet their demands.
The health workers, under the umbrella of the Joint Health Workers Union, are demanding the payment of hazard allowance, an adjustment in the Consolidated Health Salary Structure as done with Consolidated Medical Salary Structure.
They are also demanding an end to discrimination in the health sector, among others.
The union had issued a 15-day ultimatum which elapses at midnight today.
JOHESU is a conglomerate of four registered trade unions in the health sector. The constituting unions are the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria; Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals; Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Associated Institutions; and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions.
Addressing journalists, the National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Dr Obinna Ogbonna, lamented government’s failure to implement the technical committee’s report on COHESS which would have addressed their demands.
The union accused the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, of frustrating the efforts made towards the implementation of the report.
Ogbonna said, “Our demands have been a perennial issue. Each time we go on strike we are being deceived to call it off and nothing happens. The implementation of the recommendations of the technical committee on COHESS would have helped douse tension but we understand that the Minister of Health refused to submit it to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
“We are not strike mongers; we have only been pushed to the wall and the only means to press home our demands after dialogue has failed is to embark on strike. By midnight today, if no tangible action is taken, we shall have no option than to proceed on an indefinite strike.”
Ogbonna called on Nigerians to “prevail on Ehanire to do the needful by presenting the report to the President for the problem to be resolved.”
Efforts to get the health minister’s reaction had not yielded results as of the press time.