By Williams Anuku, Abuja
Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) says its members were short paid by 40 percent by the Federal Government in their hazard and inconvenience allowances while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
National President of MHWUN, Josiah Biobelemoye who dropped the hint on Friday, said members of the union got only 10 percent of their hazard allowance, instead of the 50 percent jointly agreed by stakeholders in the sector.
He warned that the fragile peace in the sector may be truncated, if nothing is done to correct the error in the next batch of payment.
Beyond the allowances, MHWUN has insisted that its members must be captured in the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) without delay as most of the affected personnel are running out of patience, especially with the misunderstanding by doctors that seeking the scheme adjustment for MHWUN members is considered as asking for the same pay with doctors.
Biobelemoye took a swipe at the Ministry of Health, alleging that it was creating division among the health care workers irrespective of their professions.
The MHWUN president raised these observations, when it paid a visit to the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Prof. Ekele Bisalla.
“We have resolved to shut down the health system if government doesn’t correct the anomaly before payment of the third batch of the Covid-19 allowances.
“To the best of our understanding, the agreement signed with the Ministry of Health on the Covid-19 allowance was that those who earned five thousand naira as hazard allowance would be replaced with 50 percent of their basic salary.
“Instead of implementing the agreement accordingly, the CMDs of various hospitals were mislead to implement only part D of the agreement, which they misunderstood to be 10 percent and have given to our members, considered as non medical professionals.
“There is one misinformation that has been going round about covid-19 allowances. we entered an agreement and its explicit, the agreement in paragraph one part A, B, C and D is very clear but the CMDs were mislead to act in only paragraph D, leaving out other aspects of paragraph A, B and C.
“This was confirmed even when we met with the Federal Ministry of Health officials, they agreed that there was an error and asked us to provide for them the lists of those that were wrongly paid 10 percent, we have done that with the financial implication.
“So we want to make it open to your management team now so that the circular with the wrong information can be withdrawn and replaced with the corrected one. This is because in the agreement, paragraph one A state that the five thousand hazard allowance has been shelved and in its place, 50 percent shall be approved for all health workers and not health professionals,” he lamented.
Regarding speculations that the union is asking for the same salary scale with medical doctors, Comrade Biobelemoye said it was far from the truth, urging the leaders in the sector to ensure actions that would promote industrial harmony in the system and not the other way round.