How Saraki’s intervention ended JOHESU strike

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The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel was reached by Nigerians and all stakeholders of the Health Sector on Thursday as the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) called off it’s six weeks strike action following the well thought out intervention of Senate President, Bukola Saraki after series of meetings with the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Union.

Two weeks ago, Saraki began mediating in the labour action that paralyzed Nigeria’s healthcare facilities for almost 50 days.

Series of meetings between the ministers of Health and Labour, Dr Isaac Adewole and Chris Ngige and JOHESU had all ended in deadlock while the Nigerian people continued to suffer the effects.

The stalemate of negotiations could not meet the demands of the union which had earlier come up with three options, the last of which was to reduce the N22billion correctly calculated by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to N16 billion, in an attempt to resolve the lingering issue.

Recall that the federal government, rather than picking one of these options, decided to offer the health workers 15 per cent of the N22billion which is about N3billion, nearly a quarter of their demand.

A desperate Federal Ministry of Health had earlier threatened that the JOHESU leaders may be jailed after a court hearing where it was strangely alleged that JOHESU is being sponsored to keep on with the strike action by the opposition, especially the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with the aim of destabilising the present government.

The striking bodies had also been directed by the governing boards of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions to order their striking workers to resume or face proscription as deliberate absence from duty, but to no avail.

Also recall that the union’s demand had included upward adjustment of CONHESS Salary Scale, arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10, employment of additional health professionals, implementation of court judgments and upward review of retirement age of health workers from 60 to 65 years.

Senator Bukola Saraki stepped in and requested a meeting with the JOHESU leadership to find a lasting end to the crisis.

After the first meeting had ended in deadlock, Senator Bukola Saraki had met again with the leadership of JOHESU in hopes to persuade them to call off the strike action while still on the negotiation table so as to ease the sufferings of Nigerians who could not afford private hospital services .

After the second meeting held with Senator Bukola Saraki, JOHESU called of its nationwide strike action through a communique issued at the end of the union’s National Executive Council meeting in Abuja and signed By its Chairman, Josiah Biobelemoye.

He particularly stated that the suspension of the strike followed the intervention of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and sympathy for the masses. He praised Senator Bukola Saraki’s high level of statesmanship and sincerity of purpose adding that the Senate President had put in place some machinery with a view to permanently resolve the issues in contention.

The leadership of JOHESU expressed their gratitude to Bukola Saraki whose intervention had brought the six weeks strike and the suffering for the Nigerian masses to an end of pain.

While negotiations are set to resume on the 4th of June, it is, however, fair to mention that the National Assembly has once again provided thoughtful leadership in steering the affairs of the nation as it concerns the Nigerian people.

By intervening in the crisis, the National Assembly has proven that it is indeed interested in the general welfare of the Nigerian people and will continue to do so.

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