By Danmaryam Zayamu
If urgent steps are not taken by the Federal Government in granting the long standing demands of health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) and Assembly of Health Care Professionals, the health sector may experience another round of crisis.
This is even as the JOHESU has reminded the Federal Government of its demands that are yet to be fulfilled.
The President of JOHESU, Comrade Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, gave the reminder when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, in Abuja, yesterday.
The group therefore, called on the federal government, to, as a matter of urgency, take step to address the demand in the interest fairness and industrial harmony in the health sector.
According to Comrade Josiah, some of the yet-to-be fulfilled demands of his group include review of hazard allowance; the FMOH to liaise with CMDs/CEOs and IPPIS to effect payment of promotion/ skipping arrears; the FMOH to present memo to the National Council on Establishment (NCE) on the review of the retirement age of health workers.
Other demands, he said, include, the release of withheld salaries of members in April and May, 2018, due to “No Work No Pay” policy of the Federal government.
“Adjustment of CONHESS scale as was done to CONMESS scale; the Federal Ministry of Health to set up a sub-committee on critical labour matters and Central Standing Committee to address the various pending issues assigned to her through the judgement of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN),” he said.
Comrade Josiah, however, commended the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz M. Abdullahi, for his prompt issuance of the circular directing the offsetting of skipping arrears and payment of specialist allowance.
He pledged the union’s readiness to partner with the Minister to ensure a successful tenure “free of friction and rancour.”
Earlier, the Minister of Health, Dr. Ehanire applauded the relatively industrial harmony so far enjoyed in the health sector.
He reiterated that the health sector is a peculiar sector which deals directly with lives of millions of Nigerians, hence, consequences of disruption of service is never desirable.
“All workers in the sector are partners and custodians of healthcare as such, we must endeavour to join hands together and be each other’s keeper to ensure that healthcare service is not disrupted,’’ he reiterated.
He further appealed for continuous support and understanding while assuring that as the head of the sector, he would ensure that everyone gets what is fair and just but reminded that the administration of the sector does not rest entirely on the Federal Ministry of Health, rather: “It is a collective responsibility, involving: Salaries and Wages Commission, Ministries of Labour, Finance, etc.