The Joint Health Sector Unions(JOHESU) says it will meet with the Federal Government on Wednesday over discriminatory payment of the COVID-19 Hazard Allowances within the health sector.
Mr Joy-Josiah Biobelemoye, JOHESU, National President said this at the end of an emergency meeting of the leadership of the union to avert a nationwide shutdown in the health sector on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Federal Government released N4.6 billion to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), to settle their hazard and inducement allowances for the months of April and May after its recent industrial action.
According to Biobelemoye, we are very mindful of the consequence of shutting down the health system, but in recent times development have shown that we are been pushed, we are been forced to engage in a shutdown process.
“We clamoured for a special hazard allowance for this COVID-19 period, we also entered an agreement with the government and what the agreement says in paragraph one(a) is very explicit.
“It says, replaces, whoever is earning N5,000 with 50 per cent of his or her own basic salary and should be paid across the board for the workers.
” But after more than a month delay, the payment was done and it starting generating huge uproar within the health system as this the payment did not fit into what was agreed upon initially,” he said.
He noted that health workers are known to be those employed within the health sector, directly or indirectly to carry out health services for the good health of the citizenry.
“Some of these persons that have been discriminated fell into different categories and are more exposed than some of the professionals that are paid 50 per cent,” he said.
Biobelemoye noted that the World Health definition of health worker encompass administrators, drivers, cleaners, laundry among others, adding this has been misinterpreted by the Federal Ministry of Health.
” The good news is that the Ministry of Health has invited JOHESU for a meeting tomorrow.
“We also want to appeal to our members all over the country to exercise a little patient with us and we are hoping that by the end of tomorrow meeting, the ministry will think better than pushing us to shut the health system down.
“We do not pray that the meeting should fail because we are all stakeholders in this fight against Covid-19, but where the unthinkable happens, we will mobilize our members within shortest notice to embark on industrial action,” he stated.
Among other grievances which JOHESU insist must be met includes, adjustment of members salary to align with the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) status, which has been on the negotiating table since 2014 as well as promotes those due to directorate levels.
The union also want the government to recognise JOHESU members as consultants and pay them special allowances, commensurate with their status, including implementation of 2017 collective bargain agreement, among others. (NAN)