By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
Akwa Ibom State Government has warned against the ill-conceived industrial action embarked upon by the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) demanding payment of 50% of basic salaries as hazard allowance in this harsh economic climate.
This is in spite of concerted efforts by 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.
Commissioner for Information, Sir Charles Udoh, sounded the warning on Friday, describing as unreasonable and unlawful for healthcare professionals to embark on any form of strike action during period of Coronavirus pandemic.
He stated that a full compliment of related healthcare professionals are expected at their duty posts unfailingly, as required by the terms and conditions of their employment.
Sir Udoh warned that relevant health authorities have been mandated to conduct head count, and 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.
He maintained that the efforts of the state government in this regard has continued to receive widespread commendations from various healthcare stakeholders in the country.
“The state government has made adequate arrangements to ensure that those who are 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 any where in the state, under the pretext of an 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.
“Government is aware that the ill conceived industrial action and blatant act of sabotage by JOHESU is sponsored by political detractors with an underlying intent to vandalize healthcare facilities in the state. Security agencies in the state have been fully briefed to ensure the continued protection of lives and property, using all legal means.”
The Information Commissioner however enjoined citizens and residents to continue to cooperate with government in the fight to curtail the surge of the COVID 19 Pandemic in our state