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Medical workers caution government against using amorphous groups to scuttle strikes

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The Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) has cautioned the Federal Government against using nebulous Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to scuttle genuine industrial actions embarked upon by trade unions.

The National President of the union, Biobelemoye Josiah, who stated this during the union’s 47th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, said such action has persisted despite many courts affirming the rights of trade unions to use the strike as a weapon for the improvement of working conditions of service for their members.

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He added: “Let me use this medium to condemn in very strong terms the new trend of the Federal Government using some compromised Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to scuttle our strikes. In a plethora of cases, the courts have affirmed the right of the workers to embark on strikes. That strike is a legitimate weapon available to the trade union to ventilate their grievances especially when the provision of Section 41 of the Trade Union Act bordering on the number of days have been complied with. I would therefore appeal to the Federal Government to enrich our industrial relations practice through the interplay of the relationship between management (government) and the workers (trade unions) rather than scuttling the relationship through third-party interloper represented by the NGOs.”

Biobelemoye also hinted at a possible strike in the health sector if the non-payment of COVID-19 allowances to its members by the Federal Government is not settled sooner, rather than later.

He accused the government of foot-dragging over the payment after an agreement was reached.

His words: “Sadly, the government promised to pay but it is yet to pay the medical workers COVID-19 allowances up to this moment. The correct value has not been paid and that is a way of provoking our people into taking action that the leadership is reluctant to take, but if forced by government action, we will take it. The on-going National Executive Council (NEC) will come up with far-reaching decisions on the state of medical practice in the country generally.”

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