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Labour vows to resist delay of minimum wage negotiations


 Health workers mull resumption of strike
The labour movement in the country has urged the tripartite committee on the review of minimum wage to swing into action immediately.

Chairman of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), Biobelemoye Josiah, who spoke at a reception ceremony organised by Association of Medical Laboratory Technicians and Assistants of Nigeria (AMELTAN), in his honour in Abuja, said the members of the committee must resist any attempt within or outside it to delay the negotiation for the benefit of the working masses.

In the same vein, Josiah, who is also the National President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MAHWUN), has hinted about the possible resumption of the health workers’ suspended strike action.

Josiah said the five weeks period requested by the Federal Government to address the industrial disagreement has lapsed without any concrete achievement made. He said the unions in the health sector are reviewing the situation and would not hesitate to resume the suspended strike action soon if government fails to meet substantial part of the agreement reached.

His words: “We suspended our strike action following the Federal Government’s promise to approve the adjustment of the salary in five weeks. We as health sector workers love the health of Nigerians, and on our own we are doing our best. Count from the 4th of October 2017 till now, it is well beyond five weeks. So if we do not get that adjustment, Nigerians should bear with us”.

He said that the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) is consistent on its earlier demand for N56, 000 as minimum wage in her proposal to the Federal Government.

He added: “We have a trusted leadership that will not allow government to use the minimum wage issue as a means of scoring political points. We are certain that should government try to employ delay tactics for any self-gain, our leadership will pull out.

“NLC earlier made it clear that it want N56.000 for new minimum wage.. And as a responsible body, it is not required of NLC to continually change its position because it is not a chameleon. And if the political class is demanding to be paid like their counterparts in the United States, they should also consider paying the working class like their counterparts abroad too.

“Presently, the minimum wage in U.S.A is $1600 and here in Nigeria our current minimum wage is less than $40.”

Josiah said government must see upward review of minimum wage as a veritable tool for empowering the citizenry short cut to exiting economic recession.

“If the government is not willing to empower the working class, who then will purchase the high cost commodities that you brought into the society? So for economy to run well for even the manufactures, industrialists and what have you, the society needs a well-paid workforce. Government needs to know that the population of the working class is the one that runs the local economy especially in non-industrialised economies like Nigeria,” he said.

The Medical and health union boss declared that the 2018 budgetary provision for the health sector is miserly and not a demonstration of seriousness of the Federal Government to deliver qualitative healthcare to Nigerians.

He added: The health sector is not funded properly. And if government wants us to give world-class health services they require us to give, it should the health sector with required skills and equipment.

How do we put our skills to practice when they don’t fund the health sector properly?”

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