MEDICAL doctors have disagreed with other health workers in Ondo State over a national strike in the sector scheduled to begin on Friday.
The Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) called the indefinite strike over the alleged failure of government to meet its demands.
The state chapter of NUAHP said its members will join the strike, but the state chapter of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) said its members will not, although it said its members employed in federal hospitals could join the strike.
NUAHP comprises medical laboratory scientists, optometrists, physiotherapists, pharmacists, health information managers/officers and radiographers.
Adeyonka Adedire, its chairperson in Ondo, said in a statement on Thursday in Akure that the national strike was called to press home the demands of the union.
“The strike is not unconnected with the inability of government to implement all agreements made and entered into with JOHESU, particularly, as it concerns our union members nationwide.
“It is also worthy of note that there are many of these challenges that are affecting our workers in the state coupled with other peculiar but relevant issues that have remained unattended to by the Ondo State government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, some of the issues are; Implementation of New Hazard allowances for state health workers as done for their colleagues in federal institutions, Increment from N5,000 to N30,000 and N32,000.
“Increment in retirement age of health workers from 60yrs to 65yrs. Promotion of deserving health workers (Directors) from level 16 to level 17 as done for their colleagues in federal health institutions.
“Creation of the Department of Medical Laboratory Services at the State Ministry of Health as done in UNIMEDTH, HMB and Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency. It is unfortunate that the regulating ministry has continually resisted the creation of the department despite having same across all health institutions, agencies and boards in Ondo State. So Funny!
“All these among others are our challenges in Ondo State Health Care Services. But they all seem not to be important to the concerned ministries despite the huge commitments of our Comrade Arakunrin (Governor Rotimi Akeredolu), our “talk and do” JAGABAN Governor.
“As directed, and as loyal union leadership, the state government was informed of the imminent strike action as usual, but the HoS seems not to be interested in NUAHP’s plight having met a single union out of many that most of our requests do not concern.
“For the umpteenth time, we dare to say that NUAHP is a conglomeration of core senior healthcare professionals ranging from Optometrists, to Pharmacists, Medical Laboratory Scientists, Health Information Officers and Managers, Radiographers, Dieticians, Psychologists, Dental therapists, and many other very important ones.
“In our usual habit, as good citizens that believe in Arakunrin Akeredolu’s sheer doggedness and huge commitments to worker’s plight, we intentionally tarried a bit to meet with the supposed responsible government representatives as usual, but it was a huge mistake laced with disappointment for us.
“The HOS (Head of Service, Kayode Ogundele) was nowhere to be found as he cancelled the meeting (to avert the strike). We do apologize to you, members, for the delay. It is obvious that the HoS doesn’t take health sector workers serious and we find this anti-labour cancellation of the meeting as unacceptable.
“Consequently, due to time constraints, our congress will not hold on Thursday but shall hold on Friday, 26th May 2022 by 2pm. The venue shall be communicated later, please. The strike shall then be declared arising from the congress by God’s grace. All members should please be on RED ALERT for further directives.”
However, in a counter directive, MHWUN urged its members in the state and local government public hospitals and other health facilities to ignore the strike call.
In a press statement made available to journalists in Akure on Thursday, the state chairperson of MHWUN, Segun Ajiboye, said only workers at federal health facilities and hospitals across the country will participate in the strike.
“Comrades, the Ondo State Council of MHWUN wishes to inform you once again that the strike called by JOHESU is restricted only to Federal Health workers,” Mr Ajiboye said.
“The state will comply fully when directed otherwise. We remain proud of JOHESU and its agitations for improved welfare for health workers nationally.
“Let us be calm, go about our normal duties in Ondo State as we await further directives from the national secretariat.”
JOHESU had in a letter dated May 9 issued a 15-day ultimatum to the federal government to meet its demands.
JOHESU is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations, including MHWUN, NUAHP, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities’ Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions.