By Banji Aluko

The Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Health Care Professionals on Monday threatened to commence a warning strike on September 13 if the Federal Government failed to address their demands.

Addressing journalist in abuja, the National Chairman of JOHESU, Bio Josiah, who said that their commitment to resolve issues through dialogue has been taken for granted, urged the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), to take over the negotiations between them and the FG from the substantive Minister Senator Chris Ngige, whom he accused of compromise.

Among other demands, the union insisted on the immediate payment of the shortfall in the COVID-19 allowances of non-clinical staff in the federal health institutions presently pegged at 10 per cent to the agreed 50 per cent of basic salaries paid to all clinical staff in the FHIs.

It also asked states and LGAs that have not domesticated the COVID-19 allowances for their clinical and non-clinical health workers to abide by the agreement without further delay to avoid the breakdown of industrial harmony in their health sector.

The union added, “We demand unconditional payment of all withheld salaries at Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, JUTH, LUTH and the complement of April and May 2018 salaries.

JOHESU further said the FG, states, and local government areas must come up with COVID-19 palliatives for the citizens while improving service delivery and remedial measures to combat failing and decaying infrastructural facilities.

Josiah said the Presidency should direct the Ministry of Health to obey the consent judgment of the National Industrial Court delivered on March 19, 2019.

On the looming strike, he said, “If the Federal Government does not meet these demands by midnight of September 13, 2020, JOHESU will have no other choice than to commence a nationwide seven-day warning strike of our members in all the Federal Health Institutions.

The unions also condemned the hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price, stating that it would worsen the poverty in the country.