Strike Lingers As Federal Government, Health Workers’ Meeting Ends In Deadlock

By Damilare Adeleye

The move to get the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) resolved has yielded no viable outcome as meeting between the union and the federal government has reached an impasse.

The Nigerian Voice learnt that negotiation between the two parties was held at the Federal Ministry of Health and presided by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.

Dr Obinna Ogbonna, the National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, who spoke to the media, said that there was no resolution at the meeting.

The Nigerian Voice understands that JOHESU is an umbrella for health workers’ unions and associations, encompassing a wide range of healthcare professionals.

The health workers, who have declared strike since Thursday, are demanding various actions from the government, including approving and implementing the Consolidated Health Salary Structure adjustment, paying omitted and short-changed COVID-19 hazard allowances, recognizing support health workers in the payment of new hazard allowance, and immediate and unconditional payment of withheld salaries of several medical centers, among other things.

On May 9, 2023, JOHESU leadership sent a letter to the Federal Government issuing a 15-day ultimatum due to the government’s alleged inconsistencies in negotiating the Consolidated Health Salary Structure adjustment.

While speaking, Dr Ogbonna said that the Ministry of Health had requested a reconciliation meeting following the strike declaration.

However, he noted that the Minister, who had previously stated that an adjusted CONHESS was unfeasible, presided over the meeting.

Following objections from the union, the Minister agreed to let the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment mediate the dispute.

The meeting has been postponed until next week, though no specific date has been set, due to the current national atmosphere and ongoing inauguration events.