COVID-19: Non payment of our salary adjustment, ticking time bomb — Health Workers

As Reps C’ttee Chair meets JOHESU leaders

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

Health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, weekend, said that lack of budgetary provision to fund salary adjustment for members is a ticking time bomb that could detonate soon.

The union has also warned that further delay in the payment of the withheld April and May 2018 salaries of health workers in Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH and other places will have a negative consequence on the nation’s health sector.

National Chairman of JOHESU, Joy Josiah Biobelemoye, made the threat in Abuja when the union played host to the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health Care Services, Hon. Yusuf Tanko, at the union’s headquarters, Abuja.

Biobelemoye, who spoke with journalists after the visit, said he was optimistic that the lawmakers would intervene in the plight facing the health workers who are on the frontline in containing the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic.

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He said: “The Ninth Assembly is focused on ensuring there is constructive engagement between the legislature and the health care service providers, including other stakeholders so that there would be harmony.

“The principle thing is that what they are focusing on is to ensure there is harmony within the health system so that patients and common Nigerians can reap from a good public health system.

“Funding has been a problem which the National Assembly has already taken some steps in ensuring that the consolidated revenue provision of one per cent is backed by law, but we are also asking that they should strive to give us more funding and also asking that they should also make budgetary provisions to fund our salary adjustments which are a ticking time bomb.

“We are doing so much and our people are showing so much understanding within this period of COVID-19,  but you can’t expect people to be patient all through forever.

“Another time bomb is our withheld salaries of April, May 2018 in FMC Owerri, LUTH, JUTH and other places. If you look at the issues in FMC Owerri, the government invited us to blow whistles to support corruption fight, we went into it, as we speak over 700 of our members have been denied salaries for months.

“Although, there is a glimmer of hope which we have also told our people. In the last meeting of 8th June in the office of the Minister of Labour, he pointedly made it clear that government has decided to reconsider that they will be paying all withheld salaries after the COVID-19 issues. He said that it is not for JOHESU members only even for doctors that their salaries are withheld that all will be paid soon.

“We are appealing through this medium that the executive should quickly look into these matters because they are ticking time bombs, they should not allow them to detonated before they come to rescue because any detonated bomb does not have a positive result, it is always negative.”


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