THE GENESIS OF JOHESU, WHY NURSES’ EFFORTS ARE NOT YIELDING RESULTS – Nrs. A. D. Yahaya
I have been a Nurse with over 30 years of cognate clinical practice, both in public, and the privaTe settings. Out of this years, over 25 has been spent in Professional Nursing politics ( NANNM), that is from, 1988 till date.
Holding different positions from both the private and public sectors.
NURSE ALANI ADENIJI, NANNM PRESIDENT
My contributions on the above subject matter is not really going to be about whether Nurses should pull out or continues to be part of the conglomerate, known as JOHESU.
I want to further provides some salient information, particularly to the younger colleagues, so that whenever the final decision is going to be taking, most of us can have sufficient information for our decision.
Prior to the formation of JOHESU, what are the issues?
– In the beginning, in the trade Union movement in a typical health institution, the dominant Unions are the NANNM, the MHWUN, and the NMA.
– Even though the NMA was not statutorily a registered labour Union. They have continued to over powered the law and have continued to operate as one.
– These three Unions were acting individually, pursing their individual members welfare matters with the employer, mostly the government.
– The NMA in many instances became a blocking agent against the demands and the interest of other workers and unions in the health sector in particular
-They became so powerful, as they constituted themselves into the accuser, the persecutors, and the judges of any welfare issue of other health care workers in Nigeria.
– They gleefully go on strike, even when their status did not give them that right, hold government to ransom, and most times comes out successful in all their demands.
TO THE NANNM, AND THE MHWUN.
– Collectively, we became a victim of conspiracy of the status of NMA, that have worked themselves into the hearts, and minds of government at both state, and federal level.
– most of the demands of these other unions were treated with levity and in most cases not approved
– These attitude of the government brought about the proliferation of other pressure groups into the health sector, as we know them today ( Sauthria, nasu, nuhab, etc).
And equally resulted in the need for other professional Associations, not registered trade Unions to spring up. Such as the MLS, PSN, Radiographers, medical record, physiologist etc.
The joint health sector unions (JOHESU) was a child of circumstances to function as an ADHOC organization, it was a successor of the JAC( joint action committee). Jac was usually the coming together of NANNM, MHWUN, PSN, and other smaller professional groups to confront NMA,(Government).
JAC was performing the role JOHESU is performing today, because of the proliferation of trade Unions, professional Associations and other sundry interest that sprang up in the hospital, particularly @ the federal tertiary institutions.
THE WEAKNESS IN NANNM AS A REGISTERED TRADE UNION, THAT FAVORS THE JOINING OF JOHESU
1) Most of the members are females
2) Most of the Nurses, male and female alike, married early, just after the RN/RM and begins to raise family
3) Most of our married female colleagues are the bread winners of the family
4) Majority of Nurses and Midwives in Nigeria depends fully only on their salary
5)Majority of Nurses and Midwives does not give importance to the relevance of the Union, outside salary agitation. They hardly attend Union meetings
6) Due to the poor attitude to the Union affairs, we hardly attract the best of us, into the trade Union leadership.
7) And many more issues
The NMA on the other side, have more males as majority, and these majority of their members don’t raise family after MBBS.
Most of them, after their improvement in their professional educational Carrier
Equally verifiable is the fact that even some of them that are married, they do so to Nurses, and Midwives, it is these wives that support the family, while they are away on studies.
Also, during their own strike actions, some of them are engaged by their colleagues in the private as locum for extra pay.
WHAT WAS THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE NANNM?
In Nigeria, the only time the government of Nigeria listen to workers agitation is, when the workers down tools ( industrial action, strike)
Prior to formation of JOHESU, each time the NANNM goes on strike, the NMA, using their status both financially, and politically, mount a consistent blackmail against the Nurses.
They use the media to berate our educational qualification, they make the public to believe, Nurses are just mere tools in their hands., and that we want to equate our status with them
They ensure, they block all our demands, no matter how genuine they are.
And collaborate with the government to ensure, they threatened our salary with the popular ” no work, no pay”
And considering the Nurses weak financial base with huge responsilities, it was obvious, NANNM alone cannot survived a prolonged industrial action.
THE DILEMMA THE NMA HAS FOUND ITSELF.
Before now, the Association, NMA, have never envisaged of any conglomerate that would bring all workers in the hospital, particularly in the tertiary hospitals together as we have it now in JOHESU
The NMA through the federal ministry of health has deliberately brought into the tertiary hospitals sundry lower cadres of staff, ranging from dental nurses, even the chew that were primarily trained for community are now loaded in tertiary hospitals.
The intention of this policy is simple.
Whenever the nurses and Midwives alone goes on strike, these lower cadres would be mobilized into the wards to Mimic the role of the Nurse, even when they know it won’t click.
And of course, when this happened, and their propaganda machine is mounted in the media of no work, no pay, NANNM will have no option, but call off it’s strike prematurely.
This was obvious in the past, when only NANNM was going on her own strike.
If such strike, lasted more than 2 days, most nurses begins to sneak to work with their uniform in a leather bag.
Important here also to note, is the attitude of the state Governors, and the state general hospitals.
In most of the states of the federation, it is nurses and Midwives that are the backbone of the key skilled personnel.
In many states hospitals, GOPD, the theaters, and other essential service areas are mounted by the nurses.
And in many occasions, these general hospitals have no drugs, no consumables as it is the Nurses and Midwives in these facilities that provides these items from their private pockets, and invariably, using the state government hospitals to make personal money.
This practice, in most instances, make Nurses in these facilities not to be able to observe even their annual leave of up to five years, on the pretence, that they are short of staff.
The implications of this, is that, NANNM only industrial action that would last up to one month can’t be successful. And in Nigeria, labour practice, it’s only industrial action that yeild fruit
WHY HAS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JOHESU NOT YIELDING THE EXPECTED DIVIDENDS DESPITE OUR NUMERICAL STRENGTH?
Very simple! If leadership positions in a group of health care workers is expected to be by election. Why should NANNM not produced the President of JOHESU?…
The President of any organization is the spokesman, he or she would speak for his or her interest before the interest of others
Pardon me to leave this area for the readers to add
THE WAY FORWARD?
Is it to abandoned JOHESU and marry NMA? Or simply don’t belongs to any group?… Again?
Again, let listen to other contributors.
What impact did JOHESU made in dismantling the ego of NMA in the politics of clinical governance?
The coming together of all other health workers in the hospital, particularly in the tertiary hospitals to demands for their rights has exposed the NMA fallacy that, they are the Alfa, and Omega of the healthcare system.
For example, during JOHESU strike, every other health worker are safely, and comfortably at home. Even, the fear, fear Nurse is confident that, no black leg would ondo her.
Her husband that depends on her salary for running the home is no longer on her neck to resume duty against the directive of her Union.
And the medical doctors under their overrated NMA became a bone without flesh, as the hospitals became a ghost, silent grave yard, that even the public begins to know, that medical doctors strength lies in the services of the other health care workers.
And if NMA allowed JOHESU to continue, surely, the little respect the public have for them be completely eroded, and their utopian status severely deflated.
Finally, and truthfully, JOHESU is supposed to be an ad hoc arrangement to take on issues that have general workers application.
JOHESU is not, and it should not absorb the statutory responsilities of other registered trade Unions, particularly in the tertiary hospitals.
NANNM should not die because of JOHESU
NANNM should not play a second fiddle to any trade group in Nigeria
NANNM should always corporate, collaborate, with any other trade, and interest group in Nigeria, with a mindset of what is good and beneficiary for her own members, and the profession.
Thank you all for your patience, and attention.
Nrs. A. D. Yahaya
ENAN national chairman