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Health workers threaten nationwide showdown over salaries, others

As the federal government battles to resolve the industrial dispute by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) has threatened to shut down medical facilities across the country. Th is, according to them, follows government’s reluctance to implement a collective agreement with them over adjustments in salaries, privatisation and Public Private Partnership (PPP) policies of the government.

National President of MHWUN, Comrade Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, disclosed this at a one-day familiarisation tour led by the President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba to the National Headquarters of MHWUN. According to him, a meeting of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) will be summoned soon on the matter. On the challenges being faced by the health workers and their plan to confront the struggle, he said the crisis “will lead to a complete shutdown of the health system,” warning that government must arrest the situation before “it gets out of hand.”

He told Ayuba, the immediate President of MHWUN, and his delegation that the MoU signed since 2014 on far-reaching issues, were almost denied by the Health Ministry. Josiah, however, urged Wabba and other well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the matter “because when such action is taken, the Nigerians masses would suff er.” “In 2014, you fought the battle for salary adjustment, they have adjusted for the medical doctors but the Memorandum of Understanding you signed with them, they were almost denying them.

Th e Federal Ministry of Health almost denied that such did not take place until we were able to provide the document. “But as we speak now , they have not adjusted the salary for us and it has caused serious ripples within the health system, and sooner or later, it might lead to a complete shutdown of the health system because when JOHESU meets, we are going to take far reaching decision in that respect. “I am bringing that up with you for your intervention. Not because we are afraid to go to the battle fi eld, but because we have serious concern for the Nigerian citizens. When we shut down, who suff ers it?

It is the Nigerian citizens. It is not those managers of the Federal Ministry of Health that have refused to do what is right at the right time.” Continuing, he said: “Recently, we carried out a survey and our people have also mandated us that whether no-work-no-pay, or not, that it is time we shut down the system. Th at brings us to the issue of concern for Nigerian citizens

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