By Chioma Obinna
Health workers, on the platform of the Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, has urged the Federal Government to be fair in addressing the welfare demands of its members, accusing the government of giving preferential treatment to doctors in the civil service.
The health workers made the accusation in a letter dated September 10, and addressed to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
In the letter, entitled ‘Re: Notice of 15-Day Ultimatum and Commencement of an Indefinite Strike Action by JOHESU: Matters Arising,’ the union alleged that the best welfare conditions were only enjoyed by physicians in the civil service.
Signed by JOHESU Chairman, Bio Josiah, the letter read in part: “The National Secretariat of JOHESU has been inundated with a recent memo of the NMA to the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment with regards to some welfare challenges of our members.
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“As usual, the childish tirades of the NMA were laden with evil chicanery and antagonism in a scenario that epitomises unwholesome meddlesomeness of the idle, ignorant and very inexperienced crop of representatives who lead the NMA.
“After a careful analysis of the submissions of the NMA, we wish to submit that in a most sympathetic display of emotive theatricalisation, the NMA decided to stand the truth on the head by claiming that JOHESU attempted to seek pay parity at the NICN, but failed in 2018.
“In reality, however, the representatives of NMA failed because they are too consumed in vengeance to appreciate that JOHESU was simply minding her business albeit lawfully by requesting the FG to respect the spirit of its CBA with JOHESU in 2014, which compels the FG to adjust its wages anytime government adjusts the wages of the beneficiaries of the CONMESS scale.
“This was sequel to understandings at the heart of the rules of engagement the Federal Government and JOHESU had in 2009, which the 2014 CBA simply amplified.
“The NMA often suggests that the golden rule in health care in Nigeria remains that anything it does not endorse does not exist.
“If the NMA suddenly says it is not aware of Residency Training which it has tried to frustrate in the FHIs exist, then JOHESU wishes to educate them that as far back as July 2015, the health ministry issued a residency training circular for pharmacists undergoing post-graduate training at the West Africa Post-Graduate College of Pharmacists.
“We at JOHESU openly challenge the clueless NMA hierarchy to show the world evidence based data that we do not have Consultants in Pharmacy, Nursing, Radiography, Physiotherapy, Medical Laboratory Science and other callings from those climes where international best practices evolved from.
“For the umpteenth time we say this is the norm from the UK, USA, Australia, France and even Ghana.”
Continuing, they noted that current events and attitude of the NMA would be a test case to see what the Federal Government was prepared to do as it tackles JOHESU demands.