Tertiary healthcare in Plateau State will suffer a major setback as workers of the Jos University Hospital Teaching Hospital (JUTH) have embarked on a three-day warning strike to demand for the stoppage in the implementation of the new tax system. They have also given a 21-day notice for the commencement of a full blown strike if their demands were not met.
In a statement signed by Dr. Ewuga Ovye on behalf of the Association of Resident Doctors; Mr. V. Lohdip on behalf of the National Association of Nigerian Pharmacists and Mr. Dakwal Manglet on behalf of Forum of Federation of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, and obtained by our correspondent in Jos on Tuesday, the workers expressed disappointment over the insistence of the management to go ahead with the implementation of the circular.
But the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Ishaya Pam, has described the action as unnecessary and uncalled and an attempt to inflict undue hardship on patients because it was a Federal Government directive.
Pam told our correspondent in an interview in Jos that President Goodluck Jonathan had, June last year, signed the new tax law and it was expected to commence immediately, but the circular got to the management last month and the implementation started with the August salary.
The CMD said that moreover the non-implementation of the circular carried some sanctions and expressed dismay that the workers could give less than 24 hours notice before embarking on the warning strike.
He said that the issues involved were very clear as the money was not going to the management but to the government and wondered why the workers could protest a Federal Government decision to the extent of shutting a whole teaching hospital.
“Pam said, “The Federal Government released the new tax law in June 2011 and we got the circular to implement. The law exempt some allowances and unfortunately the money is not coming to the management and the workers are resisting it.
“I see their action as uncalled for and attempt to subject the people to unnecessary suffering because the new law was not the making of the management. It was a government decision, which we have been given the order to implement. We started the implementation with August salary with then hope that we will go into negotiation on the payment of the arrears before the warning strike.
The CMD advised the workers to shelve the idea and return to work in their own interest and in the interest of the public.