The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has warned that the outcome of today’s meeting with the Federal Ministry of Health would determine if there will be industrial peace in the health sector.
Chairman of the union, Josiah Bebelemonye, said at the end of an emergency meeting, yesterday, that they decided to attend the meeting to see how to salvage or prevent a total shutdown of the health system.
“Yes, we are very mindful of the consequences of shutting down the health sector, but recently, we noticed developments have shown that we are being pushed, we are being forced to engage in a shut down process
“We clamoured for hazard allowance especially a special hazard allowance for this COVID-19 period, we also entered an agreement with government and paragraph 1a is explicit; replace who ever is earning N5,000 with 50 percent of his or her own basic salary.
“The N5,000 that was shared across board should be shelved and 50 per cent replace it also across board for the workers but after about six weeks delay, the payment was done but its now generating huge uproar within the health system,” he explained.
According to him, any worker in the health system directly or indirectly employed to carry out health services for the good of the citizen are to covered, but “today, some machinations has been taken place to redefine who a health worker is to say that some persons are no longer health workers and so they should be paid 10 per cent.”
He said some of the persons that they have been discriminated against fall under the categories of health workers that are even more exposed than some of the professionals being paid 50 per cent.
“For example, the laundry people who collect all the beddings from the hospitals, isolation and treatment centres of COVID-19, wash these beddings and then you say they are not, whereas, the World Health Organisation definition of health workers encompasses the administrators, accountants, maintenance and this was made clear by the Ministry of Labour, only to be reinterpreted by the Federal Ministry of Health.
“Everybody in the health sector is involved in one way or the other, that was why paragraph 1a was not stupid to present itself for all. Why are we discriminating payment now?”
Biobebelemoye stated that there have been protests in many hospitals but the Union had to step in to avert crisis.
He appealed to JOHESU members to exercise a little patience, hoping that by the end of today’ s meeting, the ministry will think better than pushing us into shutting the health system down.