Health workers under the auspices of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has given indication that they may resume their suspended strike action any moment from now as the government was yet to respond to their terms of settlement two months after signing the agreement leading to the suspension of the strike.
National Chairman of the JOHESU and National President of the Medical and Health workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah who dropped the hint while speaking with newsmen after a reception organised by Association of Medical Laboratory Technicians and Assistants of Nigeria (AMELTAN).
He said the health workers suspended their strike based on government promise to address their demand within five weeks.
He said “We suspended our strike action following the Federal government’s promise to approve the adjustment of the salary in 5 weeks. We as health sector workers love the health of Nigerians, and on our own, we are doing our best. Count from the 4th of October 2017 till now, it is well beyond 5 weeks. So if we do not get that adjustment, Nigerians should bear with us”.
Josiah also warned against further delay in the negotiation of the new national minimum wage, pointing out that organised Labour will resist any delay by the tripartite committee to renegotiate a new minimum wage for the country, as any reasonable government will not waste time on the issue of welfare for the citizens.
He said the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has been consistent on its earlier demand for N56.000 as minimum wage in her proposal to the federal government, saying “We have a trusted leadership that will not allow government to use the minimum wage issue as a means of scoring political points. We are certain that should government try to employ delay tactics for any self-gain, our leadership will pull out”.
“NLC earlier made it clear that it want N56.000 for new minimum wage. And as a responsible body, it is not required of NLC to continually change its position because it is not a chameleon. And if the political class is demanding to be paid like their counterparts in the United States, they should also consider paying the working class like their counterparts abroad too.
“Presently, the minimum wage in U.S.A is $1600 and here in Nigeria our current minimum wage is less than $40. They should be more reasonable to know that the more they put in us, the more productive we will be and the less for anybody to loot.”
“Every right thinking government ought not to delay such issue as minimum wage, because the wellbeing of the citizens is among the constitutional responsibilities of government. So if the government want to actually move the economy of this country to the next level, it certainly must give the people a proper earning power.
“If the government is not willing to empower the working class, who then will purchase the high cost commodities that you brought into the society. So for the economy to run well, and for the manufacturers, industrialists and what have you to function well, the society needs a well-paid workforce. Government needs to know that the population of the working class is the one that runs the local economy especially in non-industrialised economies like Nigeria.”
He condemned the allocation to the Health Sector in the 2018 Budget, saying, “The health sector is not funded properly. And if government want us to give world class health services are they are requiring us to give, it should do well fund the health sector since we already have the required skills. How do we put our skills to practice when they don’t fund the health sector proper?”