Strike: Health workers give FG 15-day ultimatum

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The Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations have issued a 15-day strike ultimatum over alleged inconsistencies by the federal government in the on-going negotiations to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure for health workers on their platforms.

This was made known on Friday in a letter addressed to the Federal Ministry of Health and signed by the National Secretary, Matthew Ajorotu.

The unions noted that the ministry had shown tendencies to shift from their agreed terms and rules of engagement relating to non-discrimination in the determination of the wages and benefit packages of health workers in Nigeria.

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They stated that the “recent communication from the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) which attempted to sabotage the laudable report of the Technical Committee on the Adjustment of CONHESS as was done for CONMESS, by claiming its implementation would distort existing CONMESS relativity with CONHESS.”

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While highlighting their demands, the unions called on the federal government to consolidate on Health Salary Structure as agreed in terms of settlement of September, 2017, which had lingered since 2014.

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They also urged the government to pay peculiar allowance to health workers “under the aegis of JOHESU/AHP” as well as an immediate and unconditional implementation of the Consultant Cadre circular of pharmacists in all federal health Institutions.

Other demands include, “payment of all withheld salaries of our members in Federal Medical Center in Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos University Teaching Hospital and their withheld April and May 2018 Salaries; speedy adjustment of retirement age from 60 – 65 years and the exclusion of some health workers in the payment of new hazard allowance as well as payment of COVID-19 allowance balance.”

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While demanding a negotiation of the peculiar allowance, the unions added that, “the planned 25% review on CONHESS will only widen the existing relativity with CONMESS to our disadvantage while also distorting albeit significantly the supposed edge over general salary scales in Public Service.”

“If the Federal Government does not stick to tenets of due process spelt in our rules of engagement since the commencement of negotiations on the Adjustment of CONHESS as was done for CONMESS and the other lingering demands as highlighted above within the 15 day window, it would be clear that it is the Federal Government that should be held responsible for the fall-outs of a possible strike,” the letter added.

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