Mr Biobelemoye Josiah, the National Chairman of JOHESU, made the plea in Lagos while addressing members of the union at a mobilisation rally held at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos.
Josiah also said that the union had issued 30 working days ultimatum, which started on March 5 to the Federal Government, to accede to the health workers’ demands or they woukd down tools.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five affiliate unions of JOHESU participated in the rally to press for the immediate implementation of the agreement signed with the Federal Government.
NAN reports that JOHESU comprises National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) Medical and Health Workers’ Union (MHWUN) participated in the mobilisation rally.
Others are Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) and Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria.
JOHESU members are demanding for good salary structure, payment of outstanding salaries, uniform allowances, among others.
Josiah said that the Federal Government had on Sept.30, 2017 entered an agreement with the unions to implement new salary structure within five weeks, which had yet to be implemented.
He said that the situation was really disturbing to the union members, saying “we have been patient for five months.’’
“Some other health professionals demanded for the same salary structure and it was approved within 15 days.
“The main reason of this mobilisation rally is to inform members of the public about the position of things and need to fight for our rights.
“We discovered that the Federal Ministry of Health wants to implement “No Work, No Pay” in order to threaten our members.
“Every member should free themselves from fear of no work, no pay and be ready to fight for it.
“We are going to all the teaching hospitals and medical centres to inform all our members correctly on why they should fight for their rights,” he said.
Josiah said that members of the public ought to know that we care for them, especially people who could not afford the bills of the private hospitals for treatment.
“This is the main reason we demand that Federal Government should improve the hospital by providing more equipment infrastructure and manpower.
“We always consider our patients before embarking on any strike that is why we gave the Federal Government long time ultimatum to implement our demands.
“Nobody can fight for us; we can only fight for ourselves by claiming our rights.
“We noticed that the gap between the medical doctors’ salary structure and that of other health professionals is too wide, which we consider is totally unfair to health sector,” he said.
Also at the rally, Mrs Florence Ekpebor, the National Secretary, JOHESU urged the Federal Government to keep to the agreement of the adjustment of salary structure.
Ekpebor said that “government should not wait for us to embark on strike before meeting our demands.
“We have tried by waiting for five months, that is why we are mobilising our members to educate them on the next step.
“We expect government to attend to every issue raised in the health sector and not by separating one association from another.
“There is nothing we can do because our members can no longer exercise patience.’’
Ekpebor said that the threat of `no work no pay” would not scare them from going on strike.