Hazard allowance: FG, Health workers fail to agree, defer talks to fortnight

Hazard allowance: FG, Health workers fail to agree, defer talks to fortnight



The federal government’s efforts to reach an understanding with Nigerian health workers over the hazard allowance demanded by the workers may have stalled again.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige held a meeting Tuesday night between the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PCS), relevant Federal Government stakeholders and Health Sector professional associations and trade unions which failed to arrive at a desired outcome.

The minister disclosed that both parties will meet again in a fortnight to harmonise their proposals on the new hazard allowance for workers in Government health establishments.

Briefing newsmen on their resolutions, Ngige said progress has been made in the protracted 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 him, the meeting succeeded in making the health workers to 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.

“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 said.

The minister, 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 compartmentalization 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 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) you allow them to give their own position as it suits their members. The members are not same. The only thing is that you have both workers in the hospital,” he said.

The minister 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, Senator 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.

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