By Danjuma Joseph Lafia
Six unions at the Daltatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, have embarked on a seven-day warning strike to press home their demands for improved welfare for their members.
The unions which took the decision at the end of their congress on Tuesday in Lafia include National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), among others.
Addressing newsman after the congress, Alizi Maga, spokesperson of the unions, said that the strike was necessitated after the expiration of seven-day ultimatum they earlier gave the government.
Maga who is also the Chairman of NANNM in the hospital, listed some of their demands to include implementation of COVID-19 hazard allowances and lack of insurance scheme for their members battling coronavirus pandemic.
Others, he said, include inadequate Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) to members battling the virus, none implementation of promotion for 13 years among others.
He said that the unions were pushed to the world, which has resulted to the strike by the government because they have shown enough understanding with them.
“If after the seven-day warning strike the government still fail to meet our demands, we will be left with no option than to embark on an indefinite strike action,” the spokesperson added.
Corroborating on this, Dr Idoko Peter, Chairman of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in DASH, said the negligence by the government had led to their members being infected with coronavirus in the state.
“Twenty-one health workers were infected with coronavirus in the state in the cause of carrying out their responsibilities, so, why would the government not provide adequate PPEs and insured our members?” the Chairman of ARD queried.
He, therefore, said that the government should urgently address the issues to ensure industrial harmony in the state given the situation the country is currently going through.
When contacted, Pharmacist Ahmed Yahaya, Commissioner of Health appealed to the striking workers to consider the plight of patients in their facility and suspend the strike.
He explained that the government was working seriously towards meeting their demands.
Strike : Nasarawa speaker intervenes, appeals to health workers to return to work.
The speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, has appealed to the state striking health workers to return to work to help in the fight against COVID-19 and other health demands of the citizens.
Balarabe Abdullahi told newsmen on Monday that strike can only cause more harm than good, hence the need for an effective round table discussion among parties to bring the matter to an end once and for all.
The Speaker directed the House Standing Committee on Health to call an emergency meeting with the commissioner of Health,Chief Medical Director Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital,Lafia and Heads of all government health agencies to include Hospital Management Board and State Primary Healthcare Development agency as well as the leadership of all the aggrieved unions.
Speaker Balarabe Abdullahi emphasized that the round table negotiation is necessary to hear from all the parties involved and bring the matter to an end totally as according to him,the health situation in the state at the moment does not warrant any strike hence the need for collective sacrifices by all parties involved.
The Speaker noted that both the government and the unions most shift grounds for the interest of peace,development and the general health situation of the state and its people and the assembly will stand as a neutral party that will see to the success of the agreements.
“I am appealing to the striking health workers to return to work in order to save the state from the pandemic and improve on the health of the people of the state
“His Excellency, Gov. Abdullahi Sule is doing his best to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, improve on the general health sector hence the need of my appeal for health workers to return to work,” he said.
The state number three citizen said that the absence of health workers at the hospitals is dangerous, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic as it will also poised threat to other sectors considering the fact that health is wealth.
” As returning to the negotiating table by the health workers and govt.representatives will not only end the strike but will also improve on the standard of living of health workers and improve on the health of the people of the state through enhance service delivery ” he said
The speaker restated the commitment of the assembly to continue to pass laws and resolutions that would have direct bearing on the lives of the people of the state.
It would be reported that health workers in the state have embarked on strike demanding for their promotions, annual increment, COVID-19 hazard allowance minimum wage among others.