Health workers urge Buhari to include new salary structure in 2022 budget
May consider strike, urge reinstatement of hospital administrators
Health and medical workers have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to include the adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) in the 2022 budget before giving his assent.
The workers, who spoke under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA), said doing otherwise would precipitate industrial action.
JOHESU Chairman, Biobelemoye Josiah, in Abuja, yesterday, warned that the unions would not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the health sector in the new year, if the President fails to include the adjusted salary structure.
“We are expecting that Mr. President will treat us well because, as a union, we have yielded to his request that we should keep the health sector strike-free for the period. We have done our part. We expect that no matter the games the Federal Ministry of Health is playing by trying to deny us our own right, the President has the power to direct that the committee’s job should be included in the budget before he signs it.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians to plead on our behalf because we have been very patient. We have been very patriotic and we will not want a situation where all the effort we have put to ensure there is peace in the health sector is wasted. If it is not put into the budget next year, the health sector will not be as peaceful as we have tried to keep it.”
He said the Federal Government should be ready for a total strike, if it does otherwise.
Josiah alleged the unions are aware there is a provision of N80 billion set aside to take care of salary adjustment for health workers.
He declared it would be wrong for the Federal Ministry of Health to ‘divert’ the fund for other purposes.
“At the peak of our agitation, the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President also intervened. We are aware that there was a provision of N80 billion made to take care of adjustment of salaries. It is our strong belief that even if they have not specifically stated that this amount is for CONHESS adjustment, I think there is a provision made already,” he said.
He hinted that though the outstanding payment is more than N80 billion, there is readiness to accept the figure to guarantee industrial peace in the health sector in 2022.
On adjustments made to hazard allowance, Josiah said the unions have accepted the Federal Government’s explanation, warning, however, that any attempt to favour one union above the other would be resisted.