Normal activities resumed on Thursday at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, as health workers suspended the strike they embarked upon since Dec. 31, 2013.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workers, under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), embarked on the strike to protest the lack of promotion and the non-payment of their allowances.
Mr Kehinde Adegoke, the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research and Allied Institutes (SSAUTHRAI), LUTH chapter, told NAN that the strike was suspended in the public interest.
“We have decided to suspend the action and continue negotiations and we hope that as we continue, the negotiations will be fruitful.
“We had to suspend the action yesterday, work resumed today, not everybody is around today.
“We have sent bulk messages to our members and we are hoping everybody will resume today.
“They will start cleaning the offices, and we will be getting set, our patients can start coming; at least for their sake, we have decided to come back.
“They have been pleading that we should consider patients and consider other factors since we have been able to get like 80 per cent of our demand,” he said.
Adegoke said the union acted in good faith even without a signed memorandum of understanding with the hospital authorities because the workers believed that the hospital management had genuine intentions to meet their demands.
“We had a meeting on Jan. 28 where we expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with the management, which we did not do. We decided to return to work in spite of that,” he said.
Adegoke said that the union was still contending with the issue of inadequate working materials, dissatisfaction with the way taxes were being collected and delays in promotion.
“The issue of promotion goes back to 2010, 2012 to 2013.
“We expect that the people who qualify for promotion will be given a chance within the first quarter of the year to be tested and then promoted,” he said.
In his reaction, the hospital’s Chief Medical Director, Prof. Akin Oshibogun, lauded the union leaders for their decision to suspend the strike.
“We have met virtually all the demands of the workers and I believe that everybody is happy to get back to work.
“We are happy that there has been a peaceful resolution of the industrial disputes and our patients are also happy to see our workers back at work.
“We will continue to do whatever is right by our workers; remember we are a public health institution and we will continue to abide by the directives of the authority, that is the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“We will continue to comply with directives and circulars from the Federal Government and keep within the rules that have been established for this teaching hospital,“ he stated.
JOHESU comprises the Medical and Health Workers Union (MWHUN) and SSAUTHRAI as well as the Non-Academic Staff Union and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives.