September 25, 2023

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JOHESU Suspends Strike, Gives New Ultimatum


CEM REPORT, HEALTH | After 12 days of withholding its services, health workers in the nation have suspended it strike.

Health workers’ union under the umbrella of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) suspended the strike after the intervention of the president.

However, the union gave a 21-day timeline to the government.

This disclosure was made by JOHESU National Vice President, Obinna Ogbonna, on Monday evening.

He said the health workers “called a meeting shortly after meeting with the president and decided to call off the strike and gave a 21-day timeline to the government,” Premium Times reports.

“We met with Mr President at the villa earlier today, and he pleaded with the striking health workers to give him the benefit of the doubt and that he will resolve the matters amicably to our f benefit and positive results.

“The congress considered his plea and also said we should give a 21-day timeline to assess progress and commitment of state actors in resolving the issues.”

President Intervention 

President Bola Tinubu had in Money met with the leadership of JOHESU.

Tinubu urged JOHESU to call off the strike and allow its members to return to work.

The details of the meeting were contained in the statement by Abiodun Oladunjoye, a director of information at the State House.

Tinubu restated that his administration will revive and restore public confidence in the health sector in Nigeria.

He stressed that the health sector and professionals in the sector as one of commitment to humanity, promising to resolve all identified problems plaguing the system for optimum performance.

“The health sector is one sector with a commitment to humanity. We will resolve all the problems. Trust must be enshrined in all discussions. I promise you we will accelerate this. We will resolve all the issues. Please go back to work.”

Strike Background 

Recall that the health workers’ union commenced an indefinite strike on Thursday, 25 May,

The strike bore from the Federal Government’s failure to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for health workers, as was done with the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) for physicians.

Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Dr Ogbonna Chimela, said the unions were compelled to commence the strike in a bid to highlight major issues, such as wages and benefits of non-physician health professionals and workers including outstanding payment of allowances.

He added that the Federal Ministry of Health and resolution were reached at the expanded National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of JOHESU, held on Monday, May 8, 2023.

He observed that the federal government has treated their requests with nonchalance, partiality, and lackadaisical attitude.

Chimela also criticized the Federal Ministry of Health’s discriminatory adjustments in favour of doctors and to the detriment of other healthcare professionals.

He explained that although doctors are paid via CONMESS, all other health professionals in Nigeria are paid through CONHESS. However, a Memorandum of Understanding at the start of the two wage structures, as well as a subsequent collective bargaining agreement between the Federal Government and JOHESU, stated that once one structure is altered, the other shall be updated as well as of 2009, when the two salary structures were first introduced.

The unions are also demanding immediate payment of omissions and shortfalls in the COVID-19 hazard allowances of affected health professionals in federal health institutions. They also sought recognition of health workers in non-core hospital facilities in payment of the hazard allowance.

They demanded speedy implementation of an increase in the retirement age from 60 to 65 years and 70 years for consultants in the health professions.

Other demands are “the immediate and unconditional implementation of the pharmacist consultant cadre, unconditional payment of all withheld salaries of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital, and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and outstanding April and May 2018 salaries of members at FMC, Azare.”


JOHESU is the association of health workers apart from medical doctors and dentists.

The union consists of health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, and Associated Institutions, and Assembly of Health Care Professional Association (AHPA).

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