The hope for amicable end to the crisis rocking the health sector has been dashed as the meeting between the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) ended in deadlock.
The leadership of JOHESU had hoped for a favourable outcome of the meeting with the senate president but were disappointed as he urged them to accept the 15 per cent of N22 billion which the federal government is offering them.
According to the source, after series of meetings between the ministers of Health and Labour, Dr Isaac Adewole and Chris Ngige and JOHESU, the union came up with three options, the last of which was to reduce the N22billion correctly calculated by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to N16 billion, in an attempt to resolve the lingering issue.
However, the source said that the federal government, rather than picking one of these options, decided to offer the health workers 15 per cent of the N22billion which is about N3billion. Another source from the Federal Ministry of Health, revealed that the JOHESU leaders may be jailed after a court hearing today.
According to the source, there is an indication that JOHESU is being sponsored by the opposition, especially the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with the aim of destabilising the present government.
Meanwhile, the minister of Health, on Monday, directed the Governing Boards of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions to convene emergency meetings of Boards and order back to work the striking health workers.
He added that anyone who fails to resume would be considered to have absconded from duty without leave which is a serious misconduct in line with the Public Service rule 030413.
JOHESU had alleged that the minister of Labour, last week, threatened them to respect the court order by returning to work or risk being proscribed.
In response to this, the five health sector unions under the auspices of JOHESU, on Monday, jointly resolved to continue with the ongoing strike until their collective bargaining is met.
The unions include the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria.
Recall that JOHESU, on 17th April, ordered its members in all federal health institutions to embark on strike. The strike which was later extended to states and local governments.
The union’s demand include upward adjustment of CONHESS Salary Scale, arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10, employment of additional health professionals, implementation of court judgments and upward review of retirement age of health workers from 60 to 65 years