A 15-day strike deadline has been set by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) in response to supposed ambiguities by the federal government in the ongoing discussions to modify the Consolidated Health Salary Structure for health workers on their platforms.
This information was released on Friday in a letter from the National Secretary, Matthew Ajorotu, written to the Federal Ministry of Health.
The unions highlighted that the ministry had exhibited a tendency to depart from the terms and conditions of their agreement relating to non-discrimination in the determination of the pay and benefit packages for health professionals in Nigeria.
According to them, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) “recent communication which attempted to sabotage the laudable report of the Technical Committee on the Adjustment of CONHESS as was done for CONMESS, by claiming its implementation would distort existing CONMESS relativity with CONHESS” was an example of this.
The unions emphasized their demands while urging the federal government to resolve the ongoing dispute over the health salary structure, which has persisted since 2014, in accordance with the conditions of the settlement of September 2017.
Also, they demanded that the government immediately and unconditionally implement the Consultant Cadre Circular of Pharmacists in all federal health Institutions and give special allowance to health professionals “under the aegis of JOHESU/AHP”.
Other demands include “payment of all withheld salaries of our members in Federal Medical Center in Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and their withheld April and May 2018 Salaries; speedy adjustment of retirement age from 60 – 65 years and exclusion of some health workers from payment of new hazard allowance as well as payment of COVID-19 allowance balance.”
The unions noted that, while they were demanding a settlement over the odd allowance, “the planned 25% review on CONHESS will only widen the existing relativity with CONMESS to our disadvantage while also distorting, albeit significantly, the supposed edge over general salary scales in Public Service.”
The letter continued, “It would be clear that the Federal Government should be held responsible for the fallout of a potential strike if the Federal Government does not stick to tenets of due process spelled out in our rules of engagement since the commencement of negotiations on the Adjustment of CONHESS as was done for CONMESS and the other lingering demands as highlighted above within the 15-day window.