Tuesday, 18th January 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Again, doctors, other health workers disagree over welfare of colleagues, salary parity

By Chukwuma Muanya and Azeez Etiwon
11 January 2022   |   3:30 am
Medical doctors under the aegis of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have, again, faulted demands of health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) for welfare and salary parity.

PHOTO: Getty Images

Medical doctors under the aegis of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have, again, faulted demands of health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) for welfare and salary parity.

The development is the latest in the bitter war of words between the rival bodies. NMA was reacting to a media report, which quoted JOHESU as saying: “We’ll not negotiate with Federal Government if doctors are involved.”

JOHESU had said: “Recent events have compelled the Joint Health Sector Unions and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) to formally draw the attention of the Minister of Health to the unending cycle of misnomer, where the Federal Ministry of Health dispatches a team completely dominated by physicians to negotiations involving the welfare and accruing benefit packages of members of JOHESU/AHPA.

“The climax of these numerous aberrations usually manifests at times of trade disputes when the Minister of Health would lead teams made up of high numbers of physicians to the negotiating table on matters relating/pertaining exclusively to members of JOHESU/AHPA.

“In the event that the Federal Government and its proxies will need professional inputs in the course of negotiations with JOHESU/AHPA, we demand that moving forward, only a team comprising the requisite and appropriate health professionals, who must be non-physicians, will be acceptable to us in future negotiations.”

BUT NMA, in a statement, on Sunday, signed by National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Aniekeme A. Uwah, said: “JOHESU threw caution to the winds once more by attempting to emotionally blackmail the Director of Hospital Services (DHS) Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) on welfare issues affecting her members.

“This is a well known strategy of JOHESU after failing in discussions oiled in hard evidence. Therefore, there is no basis for JOHESU to ask for the same salary as medical doctors, as this is not the standard practice worldwide.

“JOHESU knows there is a relativity agreement between the Federal Government and the NMA on Consolidated Health Salary Scale for Health Workers (CONHESS) and Consolidated Medical Salary Scale for Medical Doctors (CONMESS). If the office of the DHS, FMOH drew the attention of the Federal Government to the extant agreement on call duty allowance, as signed in 2001 and basic salary as corrected and signed in 2014, she is only stating the obvious facts and should be commended for her due diligence,” NMA stated.

The doctors further said the Federal Government, FMOH, and Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment know the implications of breaching the agreement on relativity.

They said NMA is not opposed to any salary increase, adjustment or variation for JOHESU and her members provided such action and identical values are applied to CONMESS to sustain the agreement with NMA.

NMA added: “Therefore, if JOHESU cannot trust and work with her, then it can’t work with anyone in the entire Civil Service of the Federation. We believe she has resisted the ‘Nigerian factor’; hence this vituperation by JOHESU because that is JOHESU’s stock-in-trade. If anyone is to be unhappy, it should be the physicians who are being shortchanged by deliberate refusal of the Federal Government to apply internationally accepted relativity in the remuneration of health workers in Nigeria. JOHESU is free to negotiate with anybody. Physicians are not afraid of this, provided the facts and international standards are presented and applied.”