COVID-19: Health workers threaten to shut down system over non-payment of full hazard allowances

THE Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) has threatened to shut down the Nigerian health system over failure by the Federal Government to pay its members’ hazard allowances in full.

Josiah Biobelemoye, the National President of MHWUN made this known on Friday when paid a visit to Ekele Bisalla, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH).

Biobelemoye disclosed that members of the union only got 10 per cent out of 50 per cent of hazard allowances jointly agreed by stakeholders of the sector.

“We have resolved to shut down the health system if the government doesn’t correct the anomaly before payment of the third batch of the COVID-19 allowances,” he said.

“To the best of our understanding, the agreement signed with the Ministry of Health on the COVID-19 allowance was that those who earned N5000 as hazard allowance would be replaced with 50 per cent of their basic salary.”

He lamented that instead of implementing the agreement accordingly, the Chief Medical Directors of various hospitals were misled to implement only Part D of the agreement.

Biobelemoye added that the CMDS misunderstood this to be 10 per cent was given to members of the union considered as non-medical professionals.

According to him, the Federal Ministry of Health also agreed that there was an error in the circular for an initial payment of the allowances.

“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 per cent, we have done that with the financial implication,” he added.

The MHWUN president also clarified that the union is not demanding the same salary scale as doctors as alleged by the ministry of health.

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“Regarding speculations that the union is asking for the same salary scale with medical doctors, it was far from the truth, we only want leaders in the sector to ensure actions that would promote industrial harmony in the system and not the other way round,” Biobelemoye noted.

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