Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria which today is arguably the largest trade union of health workers on the continent of Africa, was formed with the merger of seventeen (17) house unions in the health sector, during the 1976 – 78 restructuring of unions in Nigeria, along industrial lines. It is however worthy of note that, most of the major house unions merged by the Federal Government in the course of the restructuring exercise to form MHWUN were in the process of merging under the auspices of Medical and Health Department Workers Union, the predecessor of MHWUN which had been formed in the 1930s.
The seventeen (17) merging unions met in Kaduna in 1978 to formally establish the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria with the following Principal Officers elected:
Comrade A. A. Akinbola- President
Comrade J. A. Alajo – General Secretary
Comrade S. O. Joshua – National Treasurer
The first National Delegates’ Conference of the Union held on April 29 – 30, 1980 at Calabar, Cross River State. The Conference was inconclusive and was adjourned to October of the same year at Benin City, capital of the then Bendel State.
Alhaji Y. O. Ozigi was elected as the union’s President-General and Comrade J. A. Alajo continued as the Union’s General Secretary.
The Union held its 9th National Delegates Conferences in June, 2009. Its National Delegates’ Conference was triennial, until the fifth National Delegates Conference at Kaduna in 1996. National Delegates Conferences have thenceforth been quadrennial.
MHWUN organizes health attendants; health assistants; health technicians; and health technologist/officers in all the institutions/departments that provide human or animal health services cutting across Federal, State, and Local Government and private health institutions.
MHWUN is thus one of the few Unions in Nigeria that organizes both “junior” and “senior” employees from the least Grade Levels up to the cadre of Directors-General in some parastatals/agencies and other health institutions.
MHWUN has thirty eight (38) State Councils. These include Councils in each of the thirty six (36) states of the Federation, the Federal Capital and Federal Area Council (which covers all Federal Health Institutions in Lagos State).
The union further has branches in all Federal and State Tertiary Health Institutions organized around its Tertiary Health Institutions National Consultative Forum (THINCF), as a trade group.
There are six zones of the Union, which are responsible for activities of the Union in each of the six geo-political zones of the country. Each zone has a National Vice President as its chair and a zonal secretary responsible for its administration. Each of the thirty eight (38) State Area Councils of MHWUN has a full time secretary and ancillary staffers to facilitate service delivery to members.
The Union is centrally administered by the National Secretariat, which is headed by the Secretary General and responsible to the Board of Trustees, chaired by the National President in-between the Central Working Committee and National Executive Council sessions.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
- Organization and registration of workers who are in Medical and Health services in both public and private sectors of the economy.
- Regulation of relationship between workers and employers.
- Establishment and maintenance of just and proper hours of work, adequate rates of pay, humane conditions of labour, and adequate retirement/pension benefits.
- Establishment and maintenance of high standards of workmanship and professional practice.
- Ensuring advancement of workers’ education.
- Furthering the interest, welfare and well-being of members and their families.
- Encouragement of participation of workers in policy making in the health industry.
- Provision of legal or other assistance when necessary in matters pertaining to the interest of members who may suffer by accident, or through unjust treatment arising from dispute between employers and members.
- Ensuring cordial inter-cadre relationship among members and
- Ensuring cooperative and other welfare activities for the benefit of workers, generally.