By Chioma Obinna & Ebele Onuorah
The fragile peace in the nation’s health sector was further threatened, weekend, when health workers in the Federal Government-owned health institutions nationwide directed their members to disregard no-work, no-pay circular issued by the Federal Government, saying “it is a mere threat to jeopardise their efforts to fight for their right.”
In Lagos, the affected hospitals include Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH; National Orthopeadic Hospital, Igbobi; Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Ebute Meta amongst others.
Addressing journalists after its congress in Lagos, the health workers under the aegis of the Joint House Union and Association, LUTH Chapter, said the Federal Government’s ‘No work no pay ’ circular would also mean ‘No pay, no work’ to the striking health workers.
The health workers are demanding the payment of teaching allowance for health professionals and rural posting allowance, skipping of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) 10, and appointment of other health professional cadres as consultants
Chairman, LUTH’s Medical and Health Workers, Comrade Isiaka Busari, who spoke on behalf of the joint union further said the workers could not be cowed or deterred in their struggle.
Busari, who accused the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, of favouring only the medical doctors said: “The Minister of Health is only minister for a certain professional group of the sector and not for the other health professionals and this has shown in his altitude over our plight”
Also in a statement, Chief Medical Director of LUTH, through his Director of Administration, Mr. Ayo Olagunju, had appealed to the striking workers to embrace dialogue, shun violence and return to work immediately in the interest of the patients.
According to the statement, “the management is using this medium to re-affirm its position that Nigeria is under the Rule of Law and those who are willing to work will be guarantee adequate protection and are advised to report to work immediately.”