From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The federal government will meet with representatives of health sector workers in a fortnight to harmonise their proposals on the new hazard allowance for workers in government health establishments.
Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige disclosed this Tuesday night after a meeting between the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PCS), relevant federal government stakeholders and health sector professional associations and trade unions.
The meeting which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was convened in furtherance of the discussions on the proposed new hazard allowance for health workers in government health establishments.
Briefing reporters on their resolutions, Ngige said progress has been made in the discussions between the federal government and the two umbrella bodies of the health workers, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU).
According to the minister, the meeting succeeded in making the health workers appreciate the plight of the Government, caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s crude oil based mono-economy.
‘We are making progress. At least one of the parties has agreed to the Government recommendation. We urged the other party to go and dot the i’s, and cross the t’s in their own recommendation,’ Ngige stated, adding that ‘government will also go back and see what we can do within the ambit of the proposals being given by them. We have agreed to reconvene in a fortnight to harmonise the proposals.’
Ngige, however, said the federal government would not make the amount public until they fine-tune it, adding that even those in agreement with the Government proposal, still had a little problem with their compartmentalisation of their health workers into junior and senior workers.
‘We need to leave them to get back to their constituents and agree on that one so that we can harmonise our proposals. We are discussing with two unions or associations. So, in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) you allow them to give their own position as it suits their members. The members are not the same. The only thing is that you have both workers in the hospital.’
He explained that the federal government was dealing with two umbrella unions or associations, the NMA representing the trio of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), consultants and MDCAN, and JOHESU representing the nurses and midwives, laboratory scientists association, pharmacists association, radiographers and physiotherapists.
Others in attendance at the meeting included Ministers of State Olorunimbe Mamora (Health) and Clems Agba (Budget and National Planning), the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdulahi, and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Peter Yerima Tarfa.