The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has put the blame for their strike action on the doorstep of the Nigeria Medical Association, (NMA), for unnecessary interference on matters beyond their jurisdiction.
The Sokoto State Chairman of the Union, Comrade Abubakar Shehu, stated this in an interview with our correspondent in Sokoto.
Shehu said his Union is only clamouring for equity and fairness to all in the health sector, noting that, “We are not agitating in taking the doctors salaries but we want our worth to be accorded to us because we are also professionals.”
Comrade Abubakar Shehu, who is also the state chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, (NANNM), further claimed that the medical association does not belong to the main labour union body, hence lacks legitimate right to secure court ruling against JOHESU over the lingering strike.
He said NMA involvement on industrial matters in the health sector is disheartening, saying “because they agitate and negotiate for their welfare, including their take home pay, but want to deny other workers in the sector their rights to advocate for better working conditions and good emoluments, with threat to down tools.”
The NMA threat, according to him, created panic and the government refused to implement the agreement with JOHESU. We now resolved that if NMA is so powerful to dictate what happens in the health sector, they should be able to do the work alone, hence, our strike action.
“The NMA is not a trade union, and they have been negotiating salary, declaring strike, whereas, the labour acts stated that for you to exist as a trade union, you must be an affiliate of the labour congress.
“The National Industrial Court is aware of this, and has been silent on these illegality. Ironically, we (JOHESU), belong to NLC that is saddled with the responsibility to negotiate on behalf of its member.
I now wondered why the National Industrial Court is now directing a legitimate, legalised and recognised affiliate of the labour organisation, to suspend our strike and resume back to work, within 24 hours.
“What we are doing is right because the constitution gives room to a trade union to negotiate, bargain, when your rights is breached,” Shehu explained.
Comrade Abubakar Shehu also made reference to the NMA threat in 2017, to embark on strike, should the federal government implement the agreement entered with JOHESU, including upward review of CONHESS.
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