Health workers at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on Thursday staged a peaceful protest at the commencement of the nationwide strike embarked upon by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).
The union, whose membership included other hospital workers apart from doctors, were demanding payment of their promotion and salary arrears as well as teaching and uniform allowances, among others.
The four affiliate unions of JOHESU participated in the peaceful protest at the Idi Araba premises of LUTH.
These were the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) participated in the protest, Medical and Health Workers’ Union(MHWUN) and Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI).
Mr Kehinde Adegoke, Lagos State Coordinator of JOHESU, said that the indefinite strike became necessary following Federal Government’s failure to meet the union’s demands after a seven-day ultimatum.
“The Federal Ministry of Health has been frustrating the implementation of the court’s judgement by introducing same scale promotion.
“As we speak, the federal government has not paid arrears of the skipping salaries to our members.
“We expect government to attend to every issue raised in the health sector and not separate one association from another.
“It is unfortunate because we really feel for the patients but there is nothing we can do because our members can no longer exercise patience, “he said.
Chairman of LUTH Chapter of JOHESU, Mr Johnson Shaba, said that efforts made through several committees to get the federal government to implement the agreements reached were been frustrated.
“We have tried our best to make sure that government answers us and honour all the agreements that had been on the ground since 2012.
“Doctors are now the one enjoying our struggles on skipping allowance and we were the ones who went to court to fight for it
“We are saying `enough is enough’ because everybody is important in the health sector, ” Shaba said.
Also, LUTH Chapter Chairman, NUAHP, Mr Adegoke Akinfeleye, said that all health professionals deserved equal rights and service condition for stability.
“We sued the federal government to court for skipping of levels, appointment of consultants from other health professionals and professional autonomy, “he said.
LUTH Chapter Chairperson of NANNM, Mrs Yemisi Adelaja, said that the strike was to draw Federal Government’s attention to the plight of workers in the health sector.
“We are fighting for our rights because federal government refused to meet our demands since 2012.
“The threat of `no work no pay’ can never scare us because we are not cowards and it is a national strike and not individual association’s strike
“Other associations went on strike and nobody threatened them,” Adelaja said.
Among other JOHESU demands were payment of skipping arrears and review of the CONHESS table and elongation to accommodate CONHESS 16.
When Contacted, LUTH Public Relations Officer, Kelechi Otunme, said that the management of the institution was yet to react to the protest.