The Federal Government says it will take the final decision on the new hazard allowance for health workers.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated this on Thursday while briefing journalists after a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Salaries, relevant Federal Government stakeholders, professional associations, and trade unions in the health sector.
Ngige explained that the government allowed enough time for the Nigerian Medical Association and the Joint Health Sector Unions to harmonise their different positions on hazard allowance, but they were unable to do so.
Consequently, the minister said the matter would be taken back to the National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission and the Presidential Committee on Salaries to decide on the new hazard allowance for health professionals and workers.
These were contained in a statement on Friday by the Ministry of Labour spokesman, Charles Akpan, titled, ‘FG to decide new hazard allowance for health workers, directs NARD, JOHESU to withdraw strike notices.’
According to Ngige, the government is treading cautiously in order not to be seen as trying to stampede the health workers’ rights.
Ngige said, “I have directed them to withdraw the trade dispute notices issued to the Federal Government by the National Association of Resident Doctors and JOHESU.
“I told them to withdraw because it is arm twisting. It is not allowed in ILO CBA negotiation. So, we expect them to withdraw those notices they gave.
“JOHESU gave a 15-day ultimatum with effect from June 28. NARD gave 28-day ultimatum from the day they had their NEC.
“Those things are arm twisting and I told them that they must withdraw them because the issues they are bringing in here are tangential issues.
“They have nothing to do with this discussion here on fixing a new hazard allowance for health professionals and workers.”
Ngige said the matter would be taken back to the National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) and the Presidential Committee on Salaries to decide on the new hazard allowance for health professionals and workers.
Ngige recalled that the Federal Government earlier offered the health workers 300 per cent increment on hazard allowance which came to a quantum amount of N37.5 billion.
He said they were trying to work within that realm of N37.5 billion following the inability of the unions to harmonise their different positions.