JOHESU alleges plan to proscribe union, says strike to end soon
The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has alleged that the Federal Government is threatening to proscribe the union if it fails to suspend its ongoing strike.National Chairman of JOHESU, Mr. Josiah Biobelemoye, who disclosed this at an emergency consultation meeting of all state and zonal leaders in Abuja yesterday, alleged that the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, had issued the threat at a reconciliation meeting with the union last week.
The chairman, who accused the Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation (KHRFI) of obtaining an order directing JOHESU to suspend its industrial action through deceptive means, alleged that counsel to KHRFI, Mr. Nnamdi Okere, lied to the National Industrial Court (NIC) that JOHESU was not involved in any reconciliation/negotiation process, and for that reason, there is no resolution to the industrial dispute in sight.
He said: “Last Tuesday, at a meeting with the negotiators and mediators from the Federal Government’s side, instead of talking meaningfully on how to have the dispute resolved, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, said we should stop the strike based on the order of the National Industrial Court. But we told him that as we speak, we have not been served the court order; we have not seen the court documents. He later threatened to have us proscribed if we don’t obey the court order and suspend our strike.
“Before that meeting, we sent out a message asking them to tell the court to send a bailiff to serve us the order. But that did not happen.“We are not afraid to be served the court order because even the constitution gives us the right to challenge the order. But we were not served until 5:39 p.m. last Friday.
Meanwhile, JOHESU has said that the strike may be called off soon.Biobelemoye, who disclosed this to journalists after a meeting between the leadership of the union and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the union is hopeful that the Senate President’s intervention would lead to a resolution of the strike soonest and further deliberation on other outstanding issues.He thanked Nigerians for their understanding.
Biobelemoye refused to answer further questions from journalists but a source very close to the union told The Guardian that Saraki assured the health workers that he would use his position as the Senate President to ensure that there is no more strike in the health sector.
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