[By Chris Eze, Yenagoa]
Members of Bayelsa State chapter of the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) have suspended the two week industrial action embarked on February 12.
The industrial action, which was embarked over the nonpayment 15 months’ salary arrears, was suspended at the weekend by the union.
The state chairman of the union, Barnabas Simon, on Sunday, said that the Union took the decision after a meeting of the Executive on Friday, in Yenagoa.
He said the decision to suspend the strike followed the approval of the implementation of primary health care workers promotion arrears with effect from March salary.
According to him, the union also considered the essential nature of health services provided by the primary health care workers across the eight local government areas of the state in suspending the action, while awaiting the implementation of its demands.
The chairman disclosed that the union took into consideration the health needs of people of Bayelsa who benefit from the services rendered at Primary Healthcare Centres, and decided to return to work and give government benefit of the doubt.
He explained that the union had directed its members to resume work but that normalcy would be fully restored by March 1.
The strike had shut down health services at Primary Health Centres across the state where pregnant women and nursing mothers in the rural areas often relied on for antenatal and child immunization services.
Simon said, “after a long period of negotiation between the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria and the government, the governor, Douye Diri approved the implementation of the primary health care workers promotion with effect from March, 2021.
“The union appreciates all efforts by the State Government for the approval of the implementation of primary health care workers promotions and arrears.
“It would be recalled that the union presented five demands of the primary health care workers but out of these five items, government has only approved promotions to be implemented from March, 2021.
“While others, including the salary arrears of between two months to 15 months remain pending.
“We decided to return to work to show good faith while we expect the government to reciprocate our gesture.
“Due mainly to the humanitarian and public health needs of our people, we requested our members to resume normal work.
“We appreciate our members for their cooperation during the trying period and encourage them to be steadfast while we wait for the government to do its part.”