A’Ibom govt. threatens to sack striking health workers

Governor Udom Emmanuel

The Akwa Ibom Government has ordered striking health professionals in the state under the umbrella of Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU), to resume work immediately or risk being relieved of their jobs.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information,  Mr Charles Udoh on Wednesday.

Udoh said the strike embarked upon by JOHESU was ill-conceived and politically motivated.

He said that the demand for payment of 50 per cent of basic salaries as hazard allowance in the prevailing harsh economic climate by JOHESU was unreasonable.

The commissioner for information said that the action of the striking health workers in spite of concerted efforts by government to provide the best of working conditions was unnecessary.

He said that government had made payment of all due salaries and allowances, adding that the state was one of the best paying states in the health sector.

“The efforts of the state government in this regard have continued to receive widespread commendations from various healthcare stakeholders in the country.

“Against this backdrop, government is constrained to state that it is unreasonable and also unlawful for healthcare professionals to embark on any form of strike action during period of Coronavirus pandemic.

“Therefore, full compliments of related healthcare professionals are expected at their duty posts unfailingly, as required by the terms and conditions of their employment.

“Any staff member not found on duty will be considered to be no longer interested in the job and will be relieved of such duty with immediate effect.

“The relevant health authorities have been mandated to conduct head count,” Udoh said.

Udoh said government had made adequate arrangements to ensure that those interested in performing their lawful duties were allowed to do so without disruption or molestation of any sort.

“Anyone found obstructing or disrupting healthcare operations anywhere in the state, under the pretext of an industrial action, will be apprehended and prosecuted.

“It is criminal for anyone to obstruct health care workers from performing their legitimate duties in this period of emergency

“Government is aware that the ill conceived industrial action and blatant act of sabotage by JOHESU is sponsored by political detractors with an underlying intent to vandalise healthcare facilities in the state,” he said.

He added that security agencies in the state had been fully briefed to ensure the continued protection of lives and property, using all legal means.

The commissioner for information enjoined Akwa Ibom residents to continue to cooperate with government in the fight to curtail the surge of Coronavirus pandemic in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the JOHESU on July 14, embarked on indefinite strike to press for higher wages.

The union’s demands include the implementation of 80 per cent of the National Consolidated Health Salary Structure as paid by the federal government and 50 per cent basic salary as hazard allowance.