Psychiatric hospital health workers suspend 7-week strike

"This is also with the belief that within the time-frame agreed on with the management, needs of the workers will be met in terms of the payment of arrears.

Psychiatric hospital health workers suspend 7-week strike

Health workers at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, on Thursday suspended their seven-week-old strike to give room for further dialogue with the hospital's management.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents who visited the hospital report that the workers, including nurses, pharmacists and record officers, were seen on duty, though doctors remained on strike.

Some patients were seen at the emergency unit and outpatient clinic waiting to see few consultants on duty.Mr Uzondu Eke, the Chairman, Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) at the hospital, told NAN that the strike was suspended for only four weeks for further negotiation with the management.

"This industrial action has been suspended to give room for further dialogue and to also attend to our numerous patients.

"We agreed on one month from the time the agreement was signed and we accepted because we want to attend to our patients and do not want them to continue suffering,’’ he said.

Eke appealed to the management to do the needful by living up to the expectations of the workers.He said that if at the expiration of the time-frame the demands were not met, the workers would resume the strike.

"Those things that are to be provided should be provided, the environment should be made conducive to work in. If at the expiration of the time-frame we are unable to get up to a reasonable percentage, there is nothing stopping the congress from resuming the strike," the union chairman said.

In his reaction, the hospital Medical Director, Dr Rahman Lawal, confirmed the workers' resumption, but said the doctors were still on strike.

Lawal said that few consultants available were providing skeletal services.

"The health workers have resumed work, but the doctors are still on strike. Those of us on ground are providing skeletal services to the patients on admission and the out-patients,” he said.

NAN reports that health workers, under the aegis of JOHESU, had on June 1 embarked on an indefinite strike to press home their demands.

The workers, among other things, demanded for the payment of promotion arrears of their salaries for 2011 to 2014, conducive working environment and improved welfare.


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