The Federal Government has appealed to the striking members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) to return to work.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the appeal in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Mr Samuel Olowookere, Director of Press in the ministry.
Ngige said he was surprised that the union decided to embark on another round of nationwide strike in spite of government’s demonstrable commitment to the implementation of the agreement reached in September 2017.
He said, “at a period the government is faithfully managing lean resources to ensure industrial harmony in all sectors, a measure of patriotism was expected of all labour unions to enable government have an equable social and very good labour milieu in which workers could be assured of security of employment.
“It is on record that government has met almost all the demands of these unions on issues such as the payment of promotion arrears, salary shortfalls among others as per the agreement reached on September 30, 2017.”
“The Federal Government therefore wishes to appeal to JOHESU to reconsider its position in view of the immeasurable consequences of its action on sick patients in hospitals across the nation,” he said.
The minister assured the workers that the Federal Government was committed to the implementation of the terms of settlement reached with JOHESU.
According to him, the government will not however fail in its sacred responsibility of protecting the lives of the numerous patients in all public health institutions where the health workers have unjustifiably withdrawn their services.
“If this group of health workers persist on continuing this strike, Government will be forced to invoke the provisions of the relevant labour laws, especially Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, Cap.T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 as well as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) principles concerning employers rights over strikes in essential services sector,” he said.
JOHESU embarked on a nationwide strike to demand for the implementation of the agreement reached with the government in September 2017.