More UCH health workers to go on strike

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Last week, doctors at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan embarked on strike. The strike is yet to be called off and indications are pointing to the fact that more health workers in the tertiary institution will soon go on strike.

I gathered that members of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) on Tuesday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government following which it would embark on an indefinite strike.

Daily Independent reported that at a press briefing held at the UCH Ibadan, the President of the association, Obinna Chimela Ogbonna said the decision to give the ultimatum was arrived at during the 6th triennial delegates’ conference of the union held in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State last week.

Ogbonna lamented that the threat to go on strike became imperative in view of lack of response to the demands of his members by the government. He insisted that his members across the country would have no option than to begin the strike as from the 18th of this month should the government fail to hearken to their requests which he said had been on the government’s table since year 2009.

The requests included the release of circular to implement an agreement on adjusted salary of all health professionals as done for NMA members since January, 2014 and payment of arrears on skipping of CONHESS 10 since year 2010 in compliance with a court judgement.

NUAHP members were also seeking for promotion of their members from CONHESS 14 to 15, alleging that the affected members had spent over 15 years on the grade and the designate the most senior one as Director/HOD.

While the union was calling for the abolition of the post of Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) which its creation was said to be contrary to law, it canvassed for the appointment of its members as Chief Medical Directors of various tertiary hospitals rather than skewing the position in favour of medical practitioners only.

The union, among others also called for the immediate circularization of agreement reached since 2012 on the extension of retirement age from 60-65/70 years as applicable to their University staff counterparts.

While recalling how the last strike ordered by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) which NUAPH is a member was suspended owing to the plea by the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan because of the pending general elections, Ogbonna regretted that the magnanimity of the union had not been reciprocated.

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