The Federal Government, on Thursday, said it was committed to end the on-going strike by some health unions in the country but would not accede to requests that could significantly impair the civil service wage bill or affect the country’s fiscal position.
Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this at the opening ceremony of the 58th annual general and scientific conference of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, in Abuja.
It could be recalled that the unions, comprising nurses, pharmacists, and other hospital workers, excluding doctors and dentists, had on April 18, 2018, embarked on an indefinite strike. The unions, under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, are protesting the non-implementation of an agreement they entered into with the Federal Government last September. They are also agitating for improved welfare, among other issues.
The minister said: “The Federal Government will continue to listen to the concerns of workers, particularly as they relate to welfare. He said: “We, however, will not commit nor accede to requests that could significantly impair the civil service wage bill and affect the country’s fiscal position. “I, therefore, use this opportunity to appeal to NMA and indeed all health workers to use their strength in number, spread, social capital and through leadership skills to engage colleagues to re-consider the current industrial strike.”
The minister further assured the NMA of Federal Government’s willingness to always work with the doctors’ union towards driving the health sector to optimum levels of efficiency and effectiveness.
He said: “Let me restate that the gates of the Federal Ministry of Health are open to NMA at any time for cross fertilisation of ideas and collaborative partnerships in solving the various challenges unsettling the health sector.”