The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) is presently holding a crucial meeting in preparation of a resumption of their suspended nationwide strike.
The union had threatened to resume the industrial action it suspended last May and the meeting was called after the two weeks’ ultimatum it gave the government to resolve “issues in dispute” elapsed today.
Ogbonna Chimela, the national vice chairman of JOHESU, speaking on the proposed nationwide strike said that the meeting will determine the format of the strike and how it should go,”
Mr Chimela also said that the government is yet to call them for a continuation of negotiations, despite the two weeks strike notice given.
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“We gave 15 days’ ultimatum to the government to call us so we can start negotiations and be on the same page. They have not invited us.“The law provides that during the period of an ultimatum, it’s the responsibility of the government to invite the aggrieved party to a meeting but they (government) have acted as if the ultimatum was not given them.
“We heard nothing from the federal ministry of health, the parent body,” he Mr Chimela said.
According to Mr Chimela, health workers remain undeterred by the no work no pay rule.
“The government in their usual spirit has kept quiet and maybe they are still relying on their old tactics of no work no pay. That will never deter us from asking them to do the needful.”
The federal government invoked the ‘no work no pay rule’ rule on health workers during their suspended six weeks’ strike last year. Upon resumption, the government did not pay them for the period they were on strike (two months).
Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act states that where any worker takes part in a strike, he shall not be entitled to any wages or other remuneration for the period of the strike, and any such period shall not count for the purpose of reckoning the period of continuous employment and all rights dependent on continuity of employment shall be prejudicially affected accordingly.
“That particular rule was erroneously implemented on us because we followed all the due process before the strike action”, the JOHESU official noted.
“Two months salaries were not paid then but we are not deterred. We are willing to go on strike again in as much as it is a call for justice and fair play.
“We are ready to make more sacrifices for what is due us. Besides, that (two months salary) has not gone down the drain. It is one of the things we are asking for in the ultimatum, it is part of our demand.”
The minister of health, Isaac Adewole, could not be reached on phone, for inquiries on the matter. Samuel Olowookere, director of the press, ministry of labour and employment, did not respond to calls or return text messages seeking government’s reaction on the development, as at press time.
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