Health workers under the auspices of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) are confident that the interven- tion of the minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Kayamo (SAN), would end the industrial dispute between the union and the federal government.
JOHESU had given the government a 15-day ultimatum issued beginning from August 30 for the payment of members’ outstanding welfare packages and resolution of other issues.
JOHESU chairman, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah, who reiterated the resolve of the union to withdraw its members’ services across the country on the expiration of the ultimatum on September 13, 2020, unless the government attends to their demands, requested that Keyamo lead the government’s negotiation team to address the grievances of the union.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP Friday in Abuja, yesterday, Josiah appealed to the government to mandate Keyamo to lead a team to address the dispute as Dr. Chris Ngige, minister of Labour and Employment had not lived up to the union’s expectation in the efforts to resolve the lingering crisis.
He said: “We admonished the federal government to authorise the minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Barr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), to lead the team that will redress the clamour for the adjustment of CONHESS as was done with CONMESS to guarantee fairness and justice to all parties concerned like it was when the late Barr. James Ocholi (SAN) was saddled with the same responsibility in 2016, since it has become too obvious that Dr Chris Ngige has not been able to live up to the status of an ideal arbiter because of his background as a medi- cal doctor who has vested interest to align with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) position because he remains a committed member of the professional body.”
The union further appealed to the Presidency to insist that the Ministry of Health adhere and obey all the dictates of the consent judgement of the NICN as delivered on March 19, 2019.
Josiah said that the indifferent attitude of the government to some of the demands of JOHESU is worrisome including specific court judgements, collective bargaining agreements and Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) which have been treated with levity and outright violation for almost a decade.
He also accused the government of deliberately short-changing its members in the payment of COVID-19 inducement allowances.
The Ministry of Health, the union opined ought to redress and supervise the adherence to payment of 40 percent or 50 per cent COVID-19 special inducement allowances as appropriate to all health workers in isolation centres, the federal health institutions (FHIs) or other related health facilities without discrimination on clinical or non-clinical status in accordance with the MoU of 21st April, 2020, adding that the Federal Ministry of Health admitted at the meeting of 1st July, 2020, that the payment of 10 per cent was done in error.
Josiah said: “Consequently, FMoH agreed to correct the anomaly and pay the outstanding balance of 40 percent of Consolidated Basic Salary to all beneficiaries.