New Telegraph

JOHESU threatens industrial action over FG’s failure to implement CONHESS, others

Members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have said that they could embark on industrial action if they do not get their arrears paid. The threat was contained in a letter to the Minister of Health in Abuja.

JOHESU began by appreciating the President of Nigeria, Muhammed Buhari, for listening to their pleas and concerns as they finally got paid their salaries of April and May, 2018 which were withheld for over two years. A statement signed by the Acting National Secretary of JOHESU, Com. (Chief) M. O. Ajorutu on behalf of the national chairman, pointed out that the body had sent out information to all its member to begin giving out ultimatum for an industrial action which would take place in the first quarter of the year, even before the presidential election scheduled for February 25.

The letter stated that the conflict had been brewing for years and after intervention from the Federal Government, the association had to take all their issues back to the negotiation table and reach resolutions that worked for both the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and JOHESU. “After about two negotiation meetings between the Federal Government team led by Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health and the National Leadership of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA), it was resolved that an inter-ministerial committee involving representatives of JOHESU should be set up to come up with an agreeable template for the adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS).

“The Inter-Ministerial Committee at its inaugural meeting chaired by Mr. Ekpo U.O Nta, the Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission set up a Technical sub-committee meeting with representatives drawn from relevant Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and two representatives from JOHESU/AHPA.

The Technical Committee report was adopted by all representatives present at the meeting held on July 7, 2022 at the Conference Room of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission. It was resolved at the meeting that the Committee’s report will be submitted to the (FMoH),” the letter read in part. It also urged the government to look into what was being done on resolving the issues outlined and delegate the matter of resolution to a higher authority.

“JOHESU/ AHPA requests for your intervention to urgently convene a High Level Body (HLB) meeting to put to rest the CONHESS adjustment matter that has been responsible for major trade disputes in the health sector. The delay on this matter is already heating up the peaceful atmosphere in the public health institutions which has been sustained since JOHESU/AHPA suspended its industrial action in 2021 to allow for re-negotiation of CONHESS adjustment and other issues contained in the strike notice to the Federal Government.

“This patriotic gesture is gradually being eroded by the slow-paced approach in which the Federal Government through the FMoH is handling this matter.” The letter also addressed the issue of fixing retirement age for medical workers so as to prevent them from overwork.

“We also want approval and Implementation of a new retirement age for health workers,” Ajorutu added. “We strongly urge you to once again facilitate the implementation of the increase in the retirement age of health workers from 60 to 65 years while that of Healthcare Professional Consultants be increased to 70 years. This is the format in the Education Sector where all Federal Tertiary Health Institutions (FTHIs) are affiliated to and should be regularised to enhance delivery and retention of experienced hands to curb the trending brain drain in the health sector.”

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