The Joint Health Sector Unions(JOHESU), President, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah on Monday, while speaking at an emergency consultation meeting of all state and zonal leaders held in Abuja, has alleged that the Federal Government has threatened to have it proscribed, if it fails to suspend its ongoing strike.
He said the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, issued the threat at a reconciliation meeting with the union last week. While the health workers were willing to suspend their industrial action, the federal government must, however, demonstrate sincerity of purpose in the processes activated towards achieving a peaceful resolution of the dispute.
He also accused the Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation (KHRFI) of obtaining an order directing the JOHESU to suspend its industrial action through deceptive means. Josiah said that the counsel to KHRFI, Barr. Nnamdi Okere, lied to the National Industrial Court that JOHESU was not involved in any reconciliation/negotiation process, and for that reason, there was no resolution to the industrial dispute in sight.
Based on that false claim, the JOHESU President said, the court ordered the health workers to suspend the strike and attend any reconciliation process that may be put in place by the Federal government.
He said: “Last Tuesday, at a meeting with the negotiators and mediators from the Federal Government’s side, rather than talking meaningfully on how to have the disputes resolved, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, said we should stop the strike based on the order of the National Industrial Court. But we told him that as we speak, we have not been served the court order; we have not seen the court documents. He later threatened to have us proscribed, if we don’t obey the court order and suspend our strike. Before that meeting, we sent out a message asking them to tell the court to send a bailiff to serve us the order. But, that didn’t happen. We are not afraid to be served the court order, because even the constitution gives us the right to challenge the order. But we were not served until 5:39pm last Friday. We want Nigerians to know about the level of dishonesty and insincerity of the government team, who are bent on giving us a bad name to have us destroyed. Even the NGO that went to court misled the Judge. It said that there was no reconciliation cum negotiating team in place. But such a team is in place and have met with us over five times before the court order was obtained.”