The health sector in Nigeria is going through a tough time.

At a time when one think workers in the sector have called off strike and resumed work, there seems to be issues in some states.

In Abia State, the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) is urging its members under Federal Government’s employ to stay in office but resume work only when they get their salaries, while their counterparts in the state should still be on strike pending when government meets their demands and pays their salaries.

Addressing health workers at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Umuahia, the state JOHESU Chairman, Comrade Ukariwe Eme said the directive to workers under the Federal Government’s employ follows the suspension of its strike as well as the promise by the government that they would be paid before the end of the week.

For the state and local government health workers, Comrade Eme said Abia State government must implement the consolidated health salary structure (CONHESS) as well as pay the outstanding salaries owed, before staff would return to work.

“The national body directed that state that has issues should join the national. We articulated the state issues, about seven (7) points and presented to the government and because of the national strike, they have not been able to invite us.

“Though the first time we were invited to meet with the state government we could not reach any agreement.

"This time, the national has suspended their strike, but the state issues have not been resolved.

"So we are waiting until government invites us to discuss and form an agreement based on why we should suspend the strike at the state and local government levels," he said.

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Eme highlighted some of the demands to include Abia state’s non-implementation of CONHESS by the state government since January 2010, approved by the state government in April 2011, but until now, the salary structure has not been implemented in the local government.

“We also talked about the salary issues, Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) staff are being owed nine months, Hospital management Board (HMB) staff, seven months, local government health workers, four months.

"In pensions, ABSUTH pensioners are owed 42 months, causing them to die en masse, other issues raised were the 99 disengaged workers in HMB, decayed infrastructure in the health sector and the need for inadequate workers in health centres, he explained.

Comrade Eme insisted that the union would only dialogue with anyone mandated by the governor to meet with them.

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