Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU, umbrella for all health workers has dared government over its current nationwide strike action, as it says government is not serious in labelling the strike illegal.
This is coming on the heels that government has declared the current strike embarked by the health workers illegal as it says that the union is unregistered and not recognised.
In an interview with newsmen in Abuja, National President of Medical Health Workers Union of Nigeria, MHWUN, Biobelemoye Josiah and President, Assembly of Health Care Professionals Association, Dr. Godswill Okara, government’s declaration of strike as illegal is laughable.
MHWUN President Josiah said, ‘It is laughable. The strike is very legal; very legitimate. It is legitimate in the sense that we have followed due process. You remember the strike was suspended 4th February last year.’’
‘’And, it is the same issues that have been lingering till this day. So, if we are resuming a strike that was suspended (would you say that is illegal) ordinarily, we ought not to have gone through that process, if government has done the right thing.’’
He said that in order not to suffer Nigerians unnecessarily JOHESU decided to give government 92 days ultimatum for this year alone but they refuse to take any action, so the strike is legal.
According to Josiah if government refuses to go into negotiation, JOHESU as an organization will step back to review the situation.
‘’But, I assure you, we may widen the scope then. If we are forced to do so, we will widen the scope, and we will not limit it to sitting at home, we will also engage in street protests, rallies and other legal means.’’
‘’You see, all the unions that make up JOHESU are all registered trade unions. And the unions that signed the documents that ordered the strike are all registered trade unions.’’
According to Dr. Okara, there are 10 different documents, memoranda of understanding, agreements signed at various times by high level officials of government, so somebody cannot wake up to say there is no agreement, adding that, it shows insincerity of the highest level.
‘’And, that is what we have been complaining about. Each time you have a group of people from a particular profession in charge of the ministry, that is what you see, discriminatory industrial and unfair treatment.’’
The Minister is a doctor, Minister of State is a doctor, Permanent Secretary is a doctor, and they just think they are there to look after their constituency, even when resident doctors association is unknown to the labour laws of this country, and they keep closed eyes and look the other way, Okara bemoaned.

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