Covid-19: JOHESU demands equal hazard allowance for health workers

Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has called on the Federal Government to be dispassionate in the approval and disbursement of wages to health workers in Nigeria.

A statement singed and made available by the chairman of the union, Joy Bio Josiah also called for more reliable template for the structuring of hazard allowance for health workers in the post Covid-19 era.

It could be recalled that on April 21, 2020, the FG facilitated a temporary memorandum of understanding (MoU) with some health sector professional bodies based on a proposal tabled by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) which brought in some of its affiliate professional associations on the table.

According to the statement, JOHESU, which was not originally slated to be a part of the meeting, was invited to the latter stages of the deliberation which was to sign an already formulated MoU by the NMA.

It frowned at NMA’s decision to present selective list of Health workers that will benefit from COVID-19 hazard allowances, insisting that the entire value chain of health workers including non-clinical staff must be beneficiaries of the hazard allowances.

The release also observed that not all doctors are equally exposed to the air, surfaces and persons carrying coronavirus and therefore, demanded equal pay per hour.

It alleged that NMA aimed to structure a continued dominance as well as create new exclusive benefit packages for its members and claimed that the professional Associations that teamed-up with NMA were not aware of the details of the meeting.

“Some other highlights of the NMA catalysed MoU that was fundamentally flawed, was the decision to review the JOHESU-driven increase of the retirement age of health workers from 60 years to 65 years with an amplification that now provides that medical doctors on the consultant cadre can now retire at the age of 70 years.

“This desire of the NMA should not be allowed to truncate the clamour of JOHESU in this regard for the last 7 years. As it stands today, the NICN has given a consent judgment on the increase of the retirement age of health workers from 60 years to 65 years; so, this temporary MoU which should subsist for only three months shouldn’t indeed become a nullity in the overall professional and public interest of consumers of health in Nigeria.

“The NMA has tied payment of hazard allowances to basic salary. Doctors’ basic salaries are relatively higher than anyone else, but hazard is not supposed to be tied to how much you earn. The peculiar job, atmosphere, length of exposure among others should be the determinant factors, not salary level,” the release said.

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