Health workers declare indefinite strike

By Ojoma Akor



Media Trust Limited


The Joint Health Sector Unions/ Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have declared an indefinite strike. The aggrieved workers said the strike was a result of the failure of the federal government to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) and other demands. JOHESU/AHPA is a conglomerate of four registered trade unions which include the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institution (NASU). The Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Dr I Ogbonna Chimela, said the union had earlier on May 9 through a letter to the Federal Ministry of Health, given the federal government a 15-day ultimatum to meet their demands. He listed the issues in dispute to include adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), payment of peculiar allowances to health workers, as well as the immediate and unconditional implementation of the Consultant Cadre circular for pharmacists in all federal health institutions. Ogbonna explained that the mode of payment of all health workers in Nigeria is Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) while physicians are on the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS). “As of 2009, the Memorandum of Understanding at the inception of these two salary structures and subsequent Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Federal Government and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) established strongly that once there is an adjustment in any of the salary structure, the other structure should be adjusted commensurately,” he said. The unions called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately approve and implement the technical committee report on the adjustment of the CONHESS. President of AHPA, who is also the president of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Prof James Damen, said the unions proceeded on the strike not only because of salary but “need to ensure quality service delivery for Nigerians.”