Resume work or be sacked, Akwa Ibom State Government threatens striking health workers

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The Akwa Ibom State Government has asked striking health workers to resume work immediately or risk being sacked.

The threat was contained in a statement by the commissioner for information, Mr. Charles Udoh. He added that the strike action by the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) was ill-conceived.

Udoh also described JOHESU’s demand for payment of 50% of basic salaries as hazard allowance as unreasonable, especially in the prevailing harsh economic climate.

He said: “This is in spite of concerted efforts by the government to provide the best of working conditions for health workers in the state, including up to date payment of all due salaries and allowances, which makes our state one of the best paying states in the health sector.

“The efforts of the state government in this regard has continued to receive widespread commendations from various healthcare stakeholders in the country.

“Against this backdrop, the government is constrained to state that it is unreasonable and also unlawful for healthcare professionals to embark on any form of strike action during the period of Coronavirus pandemic.

“Therefore, a full complement of related healthcare professionals are expected at their duty posts unfailingly, as required by the terms and conditions of their employment.

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“Any staff not found on duty will be considered to be no longer interested in the job and will be relieved of such duty with immediate effect. The relevant health authorities have been mandated to conduct headcount”.

The state government further stated that it has made adequate arrangements to ensure that those interested in performing their lawful duties are allowed to do so without disruption or molestation of any sort.

“Anyone found obstructing or disrupting healthcare operations anywhere in the state, under the pretext of industrial action, will be apprehended and prosecuted.

“It is criminal for anyone to obstruct health care workers from performing their legitimate duties in this period of emergency.

The statement went further to say the industrial action by JOHESU is politically motivated.
“Government is aware that the ill-conceived industrial action and blatant act of sabotage by JOHESU are sponsored by political detractors with an underlying intent to vandalize healthcare facilities in the state.

He enjoined citizens and residents are enjoined to continue to cooperate with the government in the fight to curtail the surge of the COVID19 Pandemic in our state.

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