The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) on Monday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet its demands.

Josiah Biobelemoye, the national chairman of the union, said this at a rally organised by the union in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The meeting was to explain the challenges bedevilling the health sector in Abuja.

Mr Biobelemoye noted that the seven-day ultimatum was given due to the intervention of clerics and their love for the Nigerian populace.

“We decided to seek God’s intervention by reporting our offenders to him. Last Friday we attended the Juma’at Prayers while on Sunday we attended Church Service.

“Fortunately and unfortunately, we met the Minister of Health in the church where we worship, and the Overseer told him that he is in a better position to resolve this matter and allow the populace to receive better health.

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“The cleric further pleaded with us to exercise some patience. Hence we decided to give the seven days ultimatum after which we will report to the NLC that decided to take over the matter,” Mr Biobelemoye noted.

The chairman listed the demands of the union as unjustified withholding of the salaries of its members for April and May last year, an upward adjustment of CONHESS Salary Structure and headship of hospital departments.

Others, according to him, are the implementation of consultancy cadre for JOHESU members and punitive actions against its members at Federal Medical Centre Owerri and Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH).

He specifically noted that these demands were outside the ones under the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Mr Biobelemoye added that the rally was organised due to the violation of the May 30 Court Order by the Federal Ministry of Health.

According to him, the court ordered the union to suspend the action and also said no party should do anything that will jeopardise the peace in places of work.

“While we are in the ARD discussing, the Federal Ministry of Health decided to indiscriminately implement no-work-no-pay after the court has said no one should do anything to provoke the other.

“We refused to take action for over seven months that they violated the court’s order because we are mindful of the fact that every strike affects the common man negatively.”

Earlier, the NLC President, Ayuba Waba, said he would map out actions to ensure the demand of over 90 per cent of the health workforce was met.

Mr Wabba further noted that it would work out modalities to compel the minister of health to respect the collective agreement reached with the union.

He quoted the National Industrial Court judgment as stipulating that no health worker should be denied his or her arrears and salary adjustment, among others.

According to him, instead of obeying that judgment by paying the over 90 per cent workers their dues, the minister paid the medical doctors, which is unfair and unjust.

“We will mobilise Nigerian workers to battle; collective bargaining agreement must be respected. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands,” Waba said.

(NAN)

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