Home Health & Food Deadlock as Nigerian govt, striking health workers’ union meet

Deadlock as Nigerian govt, striking health workers’ union meet

by James Davies

A meeting between the federal government and the striking health workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) ended in a deadlock.

The National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Obinna Ogbonna, confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday evening.

Mr Ogbonna said the meeting was held Thursday at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) shortly after the union declared its strike on Thursday.

“The meeting ended in a deadlock because we couldn’t reach an agreement with the federal government,” he said.

Striking health workers

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the union commenced an indefinite strike on Thursday over alleged failure of the federal government to meet its demands.

The union had in a letter dated 9 May, issued a 15-day ultimatum to the government over an allegation of “inconsistencies in the ongoing negotiations to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for health workers.”

Mr Ogbonna said it is pertinent for the union to embark on the strike following the expiration of the ultimatum.


The health workers are demanding the immediate approval and implementation of the technical committee report on CONHESS adjustment by the government.

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They are also demanding the immediate payment of the omission and shortfall in the COVID-19 hazard/inducement allowances of affected health workers in federal health institutions.

They also want the immediate and unconditional implementation of the pharmacist consultant cadre, unconditional payment of all withheld salaries of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital, and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and outstanding April and May 2018 salaries of members at FMC, Azare.

The union also calls for the speedy implementation of the increase in retirement age from 60 to 65 years and 70 years for consultants in the health professions.


Mr Ogbonna said majority of persons present at the meeting on Thursday were from the health ministry which led to an adjournment of the meeting.

The union official said: “On getting to the meeting, we discovered that all of the people, except those from the National Salaries Incomes And Wages Commission, were all from the FMoH and the Minister who had already taken a position over the matter that it is impossible to be given the adjusted CONHESS was the one who presided over the meeting.

“We had to tell him that he is an interested party in this matter and for the ministry to have allowed us to declare a strike and according to the labour law, there is a trade dispute already and if a trade dispute is declared, the interested party should not be the one to preside over the matter anymore because you cannot be a judge in your own matter.”

Mr Ogbonna said going forward, the matter will be taken over by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, which will be the conciliator between the health workers and the FMoH.

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He said the meeting was adjourned till next week, “but no date has been fixed yet due to the mood of the nation and the ongoing inauguration activities.”


JOHESU is the association of health workers apart from medical doctors and dentists.

JOHESU members include other health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria; Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals; Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions; Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, and Associated Institutions, and Assembly of Health Care Professional Association (AHPA).

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