By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – Leadership of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, MHWUN, weekend, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to grant the union an opportunity to meet and discuss directly with him the lingering issues threatening the stability of the health sector.
Patients, relatives stranded in hospital as health workers strike continues.
National President of MHWUN, Comrade Josiah Biobelemoye, made the appeal in Abuja at the 40th anniversary lecture of the union, themed: ‘Industrial Relations in Nigeria Today: Challenges and Prospects’.
Biobelemoye, who alleged bias against the union by some powerful people in the Federal Ministry of Health, said: “My request today is that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces grants us audience. If that opportunity is given, he will know the truth which shall set the health sector free.
“The truth we will expose to him are about protracted issues that are before the ministry such as the adjustment of CONHESS salary scale, the proposed privatisation of public health institutions as well as the issues of grand corruption in our health institutions and unfair treatment meted on our members. If the nation is truly democratic, we must allow every medical and health worker the liberty to aspire to the peak of his calling.”
Speaking also, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said the way out of the woods of industrial disharmony in Nigeria is for the political class to recognise workers as partners in progress and the creators of the nation’s wealth.
“Strikes are avoidable but our governors and the political elite must stop painting workers as liabilities or a tiny minority that don’t matter.
“Until they begin to accommodate workers’ rights and interests when they are taking humongous salaries and entitlements, peaceful industrial relations will continue to elude us,” the NLC President said.
On his part, the guest lecturer, Prof. Pam Dung Sha of the University of Jos, argued that there is no one-stop solution to industrial relations problems, saying “We need to study various industrial relations systems for us to advance the right strategies that can move unionism forward in Nigeria.”