Nurses, pharmacists and other health workers in public health institutions except medical doctors will begin a five-day nationwide strike on Wednesday.
The National President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mr. Olumide Akintayo, who spoke on behalf of the Assembly of Health Care Professionals and the Joint Health Sector Unions at a press briefing in Lagos on Monday, said the industrial action would be observed by health workers in primary, secondary and tertiary hospitals across the country.
Akintayo said the unions had taken the decision following the expiration of the 15-day ultimatum earlier given by the AHPN and JOHESU to the Federal Government to address its demands. These, he said, included the approval of consultancy status for some cadre of health workers and the fulfilment of the ruling of the National Industrial Court in July 2013.
The aggrieved workers are also protesting the recent approval of the post of the Office of a Surgeon-General for the Federation by President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to Akintayo, government through the Federal Ministry of Health has provided some questionable bonuses and positions in the Memorandum of Understanding, it signed with the Nigerian Medical Association in December 20 which could cause further disharmony in the sector.
He said, “After appraising all its options, JOHESU painfully directs all its members to proceed on a five-day warning strike from January 15 and 21 to enable government to redress through constructive dialogue our grievances.
“Our minimum condition is also a non-negotiable dialogue with the President, whom we know will be willing to give us a listening ear. A conflict that continues to fester a rotten wound in the health sector of the country can no longer be left to the Presidential aides.”
He, however, warned that if government failed to address its demands in two weeks, the union would embark on an indefinite nationwide strike.