Some members of staff of the National Hospital in Abuja on Thursday began an indefinite strike over the non-implementation of their revised conditions of service.
The striking workers include members of the Senior Staff Association, Association of Nurses and Midwives and Medical Health Workers Union, which began the indefinite strike this morning.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that in March, staff of the hospital had embarked on a three-day warning strike.
This was followed by an indefinite strike, which was eventually suspended after a day.
NAN also recalls that Fatimah Bamidele, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, had held a meeting with the hospital’s management and the unions’ leaders.
At the meeting, an agreement was reached over the conditions of service, which was to be implemented over a period of three months.
Dr. Kilani Jelili, the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association, told NAN that the management had not implemented up to 20 per cent of the agreement reached in March.
Jelili said: “It was based on this agreement that we suspended the strike to give room for the conditions of service to be implemented as agreed.
“They gave us a time-frame of three months then.
“Now, the three months have elapsed and not up to 20 per cent of the agreement has been implemented.”
Jelili said that the workers were also aggrieved because these conditions of service were approved since 2010 but had still not been implemented three years after.
A source at the hospital, who asked to stay anonymous, however told NAN that doctors were still working and attending to emergencies.
Dr. Tayo Haastrup, the hospital’s Head of Management Information Service, who also spoke to NAN, confirmed that the three unions had embarked on a strike which started Thursday.
Haastrup said that the strike just came up unexpectedly and without any notice, but that doctors were still working and carrying out their duties.
He said: “The striking unions are saying they are not satisfied with the level of implementation of their conditions of service, but I believe there are better ways of handling such issues.
“You must give time for such things to be implemented and if you are not satisfied, you go back to complain.”
Haastrup said that the patients’ health must be paramount to health workers “so that no life is lost”.
He however expressed hope that the issue would be resolved as soon as possible.