Medical workers issue seven-day notice, to begin strike September 20
NPMCN urges govt to meet doctors’ demand
Medical workers, under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Association (AHPA), have planned to begin an indefinite industrial action on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 if the Federal Government fails to address their demands within seven days.
Chairman of JOHESU, who also doubles as the President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Biobelemoye Josiah, said in Abuja yesterday that the health unions would not give any other notice if their demands were not met before midnight of Tuesday, September 19.
The unions accused the federal ministry of health of preferential treatment of medical doctors and neglected other health professionals. It said the time has come for the restructuring of the ministry to one where all members of the medical team would receive equal treatment by government.
The group explained that while it dragged the Federal Government to court over skipping of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) 9 to 11, government not only failed to implement the ruling of the National Industrial Court on the matter, but also allowed resident doctors to skip on Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and paid all arrears to them.
The medical workers accused the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, of treating their issues with levity and have little regards for them.
According to the group, medical tourism to foreign countries by government officials would not stop until full autonomy is granted the teaching and specialist hospitals in the country.
The demands of the union are: adjustment of CONHESS salary as done for CONMESS since January 2014; abolition of scale-to-scale promotion; payment of outstanding arrears, promotion, skipping and relativity; autonomy for teaching and specialist hospitals in the country and other issues; implementation of all court judgements and review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years as done for the tertiary education sector.
Meanwhile, the President, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN), Lagos, Dr. Ademola Abayomi Olaitan, has advised the government at all levels to seek viable means of satisfying the demands of the doctors so as to avert the recurrent industrial disputes.
Speaking yesterday at the pre-convocation briefing of the 35th convocation ceremony of the college and the second graduation ceremony of diplomates of the college, Olaitan said doctors’ welfare should be paramount in the society considering their prime role.
He said in as much as the college discourages strike in the medical field through its programmes and course schedules, government on its parts should endeavour to live up to its responsibilities so as to halt the incessant strike.
Olaitan said it was also due to poor welfare and neglect of doctor’s demand that most Nigerian doctors opted to seek for greener pastures outside the country where their efforts are appreciated.
He also decried non-utilisation of the college’s research findings by the public saying there are numerous research outcomes in the college without public consumption.