By; DEKERA NICHOLAS, Kaduna
The Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU), Federal Nuero-Psychciatric Hospital, Kaduna branch, has embarked on a 7-day warning strike, in compliance with the National body’s directive for a nationwide strike to drive home their several demands.
Speaking to newsmen in Kaduna on Monday, the unoin through the branch Chairman, Comrade Atule Emmanuel, frowned at the discrimination and unfair treated metted on the union by the Federal government, through the Ministry of Health in favor of the Medical Doctors while not according same to the Health workers.
He said a full fledged strike would be embarked upon if the government fails to meet their demands within the stipulated time.
According to him, “the array of issues in contention are not unconnected to adjustment the salary structures as done for the medical doctors, the 65 years retirement to our members, the implementation of court judgments, payment of with-held April-May salary structures.”
He added that the issue of employment of more health workers, payment of the 40-50% COVID-19 allowances for specialist and teaching hospitals as agreed by the Federal Government are germane to avert a full blown industrial action.
The health workers union maintained that the group which consists 90% of the health workforce, is relegated to the background by the remaining 10% which are the medical doctors who enjoy the the support and privileges of the minister of health and labour who both Medical Doctors.
“And you know that healthcare is a team work, you must bring the pharmacists together, you bring the lab scientists, the social health workers and all of them together before you get results. So we are calling on government to adjust the JOHESU salary structures as done by the medical doctors.”
Speaking further, he said that the issue of adjustment of retirement age from 60-65years, so that retirement will not catch up with thier health professionals when they are needed most, adding that, “we are short of staff so we need this extension so that the services of these professional would be used, so that the health system in Nigeria will improve”
He also called on government to implement court judgments. “we discovered that the government is not implementing court judgments which is bad.we are calling on them to ensure that all the cases that we won in the courts of law are obeyed, so that implementation is followed siut.
“We call on the government to employ more health workers because our members are overstretched. As we speak, as big as this hospital is, we have less than 500 hundred staff and which is not obtainable in developed nations.”
Lastly, the union called for equal treatment to workers in the health sector whether they are medical doctors or health workers because the risks are the same.
“As far as we work in the health sector or you work in the hospital, the hazard is the same. So for that reason, we are calling on the government to ensure that all the staff are paid the COVID-19 allowances as agreed upon. These are our grievances before the government,” he stated.