The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said in a statement that negotiation was already ongoing with the unions over their demands, pointing out that embarking on strike when negotiation is ongoing, is illegal.
The statement said: “The attention of the Federal Government has been drawn to the activities of a group of trade unions operating as an unregistered Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) under the Federal Ministry of Health, which has declared a seven-day warning strike effective today, June 22nd, 2016.
“The Federal Government wishes to state unambiguously that the so called warning strike is ill-advised and in bad faith more so as the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has since waded into the matter and is in fact, in negotiation with the Ministry of Health and the affected Health unions.
“We wish to add that we are fully committed to the implementation of the Trade Dispute Act, hence, the overriding need for these unions to ask their members to return to work immediately as negotiation continues next week, Thursday, June 29, 2016 as agreed at the last joint conciliatory meeting of June 21, 2016.”
“It is important to add at this juncture that there is nothing like ‘warning strike’ as strike is strike and must follow all procedures as clearly stipulated in the labour laws. Seven days of illegal absence from work is tantamount to abandonment of work and we therefore appeal to the members of these unions to attend to their duties in the various hospitals and health establishments through the country.”
.........Let's wait and see who blinks first.