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Nigerian health minister urges health workers to end strike

Nigerian health minister called on Joint Health Sector Unions to put an end to their ongoing strike, adding that talks with the government are on the right track.

Lagos (Nigeria), 05/09/2020.- An electronic screen board on the awareness of the coronavirus disease is seen on the arrival lounge at the Murtala Muhammed International airport in Lagos, Nigeria, 05 September 2020. After a five-month closure of the Nigeri

During Tuesday's Covid-19 task force press briefing, Nigerian Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire urged the Joint Health Workers Union of Nigeria (JOHESU) to end their strike action and seek negotiations with the government as this is the only way for their demands to be met.

JOHESU had a meeting with the government last Thursday where negotiations have met a dead-end which resulted in the union resuming its strike on Monday.

According to Premium Times, the union had earlier warned that health workers would go on a seven-day warning strike, in case their demands of providing better working conditions -including hazard and inducement allowance, had not been met by midnight on Sunday 13 September.

The union also mentioned that the warning strike will only involve federal institutions while the states and local government health institutions would be “on red alert for possible entry into the fray if the federal government foot-drags in attending to our demands.”

Elsewhere, Labour Minister Chris Ngige criticised the timing of the health workers' strike labeling it as unnecessary and even illegal. The minister added that he had “apprehended the dispute” during the reconciliation initiative launched last Thursday, which is still ongoing.

A statement released by the Minister of Labour's spokesperson on Sunday widely condemned the strike action, saying “it is in clear breach of the International Labour Organisation Principles and Conventions on Strike and sec. 18 of the Trades Disputes Act, Cap T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.

The statement also urged JOHESU not to attempt twisting the arm of the federal government that has shown a clear commitment to tackling the challenges in the health sector.


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