JOHESU: FG DECLARES HEALTH WORKERS STRIKE ILLEGAL, UNNECESSARY
The Federal government has described the strike action embarked upon by the Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Health Care Professionals, JOHESU as unnecessary, ill-timed and illegal.
On Saturday, September 12, JOHESU ordered its members to down tools from midnight of Sunday, September 13, 2020, claiming that the Federal government has failed to meet its demands.
Reacting to the development, the Federal Government on Sunday ordered JOHESU members to ignore the strike directive, stating that going ahead with the action would be illegal.
In a statement titled ‘FG declares JOHESU strike is unnecessary, ill-timed and illegal’, the Ministry of Labour and Employment said it had “apprehended the dispute” with the conciliation which is still ongoing.
“Parties in disputes are expected not to arm-twist, intimidate or foist helplessness on the other party while negotiations are ongoing as per sections 8 and 18 the of Trade Dispute Act 2004 barring any strike when the matters are before a conciliator and undergoing conciliation,” the statement read.
It stated further that the Federal government had addressed most of the union’s demands, adding that both the ILO Statutes and the Trade Dispute Act 2004 bar all health workers on essential duties from embarking on strikes during emergencies.
“This call for withdrawal of services is clearly unnecessary as the Federal Government has demonstrated capacity in her amelioration of age-long challenges in the health sector and has overly shown commitment to the welfare of health workers by providing enough Personal Protective Equipment and boosting their morale while tackling the strange pandemic,” the Federal government said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the rot in Nigeria’s health sector caused by years of neglect. As the government battle to keep the coronavirus at bay, health workers across the country have threatened and sometimes embarked on industrial actions to enforce safer work environments and better compensation package for their members.