Relief as Doctors, Health Workers Agree to Call Off Strike in Delta.
There are strong indications that the about six weeks old strike embarked by medical and health workers in Delta State would be called off in a few days time.
The indications filtered out Sunday evening at the end of a meeting between representatives of health workers, Nigeria Labour Congress,and Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in Asaba. Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting, various Union leaders were optimistic that the strike would end very soon.
They expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting and promised to brief their members so that the strike could be called off.
The State Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives Comrade Ejiro Egbedi expressed appreciation to Governor Uduaghan for his open door policy and for personally negotiating with them."We have been here. We have talked we had the opportunity to state our side. We are going back to talk to them, that is our members so that we can go back to work", he stated.
On his part the Chairman of the State Council of Medical and Health Workers Union Comrade Goodluck Oforbuluku, did not only poured encomiums on the Governor for his personal participation in the negotiations but for the positive outcome, hinting that the strike would be called off soon.
Comrade Oforbuluku said Government offer was encouraging even as he promised to meet with his members to call off the strike.
His words: "I want to thank his Excellency, the governor for the opportunity he given to us to explain our side of the storm to him. It is obvious that there was a disconnection somewhere. And it is the disconnection that has led to this strike. The discussions with his Excellency were very fruitful and he has also graciously approved the release of our withheld salaries to be paid with effect from tomorrow. For this we are grateful to him and we have also discussed issues and resolved some certain matters. I am sure in the next few days, all things being equal, the strike would be called off.
Also reacting to the conclusions reached the Chairman State Wing of Nigerian Union of Pharmacist, Medical Technologist and Allied Medical Proffessionals Comrade Benjamin Okupa praised the Governor for his interest in the welfare of health workers.
"We have had fruitful discussions with the governor, we are going back to our members to talk to them on what the governor has offered. We believed that having discussed with our members, we will then call off the strike", he added.
Comrade Okupa said for the Governor to go a step further and personally discuss with them was an indication of his desire to make the health care delivery not only affordable and accessible but uninterrupted.
The Governor in his brief remarks directed that the withheld salaries of the striking health workers be paid immediately.
Dr Uduaghan said he was moved to order for the release of their salaries because the health workers have shown understanding and he should on his own part reciprocate. He however appealed to medical doctors to emulate the position of other health workers and call off the strike.
He said:" And I hope that the medical doctors will also see reason to call off the strike. I want to thank NLC for their support and every Deltan too". The State NLC Chairman Comrade Mike Okeme commended the Governor for his workers-friendly attitude especially for his personal involvement in the negotiations.
It would be recalled that last week the state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Bishop God-do-Well Awomakpa, the National leadership of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), royal fathers among others, have differently appealed to the striking medical workers and doctors to call off the strike while negotiations continued.