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FG threatens to sack striking health workers

The Federal Government has threatened to sack striking health workers if they fail to resume on Wednesday (today).

This was contained in a circular issued by the Director, Hospital Services Department, Dr. O.J Amedu, on behalf of the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.

In the circular with a reference number, DHS/166/T2/220 and dated May 28, 2018, which was addressed to the chairmen of all the governing boards of health agencies, the minister said any striking health worker that failed to resume within 48 hours would be dismissed.

He further stated that any person on the level of assistant director and above had no right to join the strike as they were part of the management staff.

The document read in part, “Governing boards should direct all staff members on strike to return to work within 48 hours or be considered as having absconded from work without leave.

“Failure to return within 48 hours attracts immediate dismissal and should be so due to their absence from duty without leave in line with PSR-030413.

“In view of this, governing boards are requested to direct Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors within 72 hours of this circular to advertise for employment of workers to fill the vacancies created.”

JOHESU, which is an umbrella union for all non-doctors in the medical profession, has been on strike since April 18.

Among other things, the union is asking for a salary increase in relation to the pay of medical doctors.

Meanwhile, the Joint Health Sector Unions has alleged that the Federal Government is planning to proscribe the group.

JOHESU’s President, Biobelemoye Josiah, said the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, issued the threat during a meeting with JOHESU members.

The JOHESU President said, “Last Tuesday, at a meeting with the negotiators and mediators from the Federal Government’s side, rather than talking meaningfully on how to have the disputes resolved, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said we should stop the strike based on the order of the National Industrial Court.

“But we told him that we had not been served the court order; we had not seen the court documents. He later threatened to have us proscribed, if we didn’t obey the court order and suspend our strike.

“Before that meeting, we sent out a message asking them to tell the court to send a bailiff to serve us the order. But, that didn’t happen.

“We are not afraid to be served the court order, because even the constitution gives us the right to challenge the order. But we were not served until 5:39 pm last Friday.

“We want Nigerians to know about the level of dishonesty and insincerity of the government team, who are bent on giving us a bad name to have us destroyed.”

In a related development, Ngige said that there had yet to be a consensus on the minimum wage.

He disclosed that stakeholders including state governors had equally not agreed on the implementation date, which was earlier announced as September 2018.
Ngige explained to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday that the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage would conclude its negotiations by September after which the report would be presented to the government for approval before an executive bill would be sent to the National Assembly for passage.

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