Health workers in Nigeria on Friday alerted the country of an impending industrial crisis as the Federal Government refused to pay them their full COVID-19 allowance. According to them, the Consolidated Health Salary Structure adjustment must be done without delay as their members were running out of patient.
“We want them to know that an hour disharmony in the health sector at this critical time would cause this country much trouble,” the workers threatened. The workers under the aegis of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria said the demand for urgent payment became necessary following the misunderstanding by doctors that they were asking for the same pay parity with them.
The National President of MHWUN, Josiah Biobelemoye, dropped this warning during a visit to the Chief Medical Director of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada, Prof. Ekele Bisalla. He blamed the Federal Ministry of Health for creating division among the healthcare workers irrespective of their professions.
Biobelemoye told the UATH CMD that the union “has resolved to shut down the health system if government didn’t correct the anomalies before payment of the third batch of the COVID-19 allowance.” According to him, the agreement signed with the FMoH on the COVID-19 allowance was that those who earned N5000 as hazard allowance would be replaced with 50 per cent of their basic salary.
But instead of implementing the agreement accordingly, he said the CMDs of various Hospitals were misled into implementing only the ‘D part’ of the agreement, which they misunderstood to be given 10 per cent to our members considered as non-medical professionals. Biobelemoye said, “There is misinformation that has been going round about COVID – 19 allowances. We enter into an agreement and is explicit; the agreement in paragraph one part A, B, C and D is very clear but the CMDs were misled to acting on only paragraph D, leaving out full aspect of sections A, B and C.
“This was confirmed even when we met with the Federal Ministry of Health officials; they agreed that there was an error and asked us to provide for them the lists of those that were wrongly paid 10 per cent, we have done that with the financial implication.
“So, we want to make it open to your management team now so that the circular with the wrong information can be withdrawn and replaced with the corrected one. This is because in the agreement, paragraph 1 A states that the N5,000 hazard allowance has been shelved and in its place, 50 per cent shall be approved for all health workers and not health professionals.”