Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, has claimed that the Federal Government has implemented 14 of the 15-point demand that prompted the strike by the Joint Health Workers Unions (JOHESU).
The minister claimed that the strike JOHESU embarked upon since April 17 has not been called off because the union is asking for equal pay with doctors.
“But what JOHESU is asking for is parity with medical doctors which is not practicable nor acceptable to the Federal Government,” Adewole claimed.
The minister added that: “a cursory look at the salary tables in the health sector before and after independence till date have always reflected relativity. The 2014 salary adjustment for medical doctors was to correct the anomaly of 2009 and restore relativity.”
The ICIR fact-checked these claims and found that 14 of the 15-point demand of JOHESU have not been implemented as claimed by the minister.
JOHESU comprises Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria.
JOHESU 15-POINT DEMAND
Here are the demands by JOHESU that the Federal Government agreed to implement.
- Internship: Immediate release of the harmonized scheme of service and circular on internship for nurses and midwives.
- CONHESS salary review: Government agreed to the request of JOHESU to adjust CONHESS salary structure upward. The need for recomputed cost implications of the salary adjustment was taken into consideration.
- Skipping of CONHESS 10: Immediate and full payment of arrears of salaries of CONHESS 10 skipping outstanding.
- Payment of promotion arrears: Both parties agreed that payment of promotion arrears should be carried out.
- Same scale promotion/redesignation: FMOH was directed to write a circular to all institutions to abolish further promoting people without advancement.
- Employment: It was agreed that government should prioritize employment in the critical professional areas. Since government regularly employed resident doctors, other core professionals should be employed to boost human resources development for health.
- Enhanced entry point: This was initially requested for radiographers and medical lab scientists based on enabling circular from the head of service. The agreement is that this should be done holistically to accommodate all other graduates of other health care professionals.
- Appointment of CMD/MD: It was agreed that the Federal government will henceforth do advertisements in the appointments of head of health institutions in accordance with the law that establishes the health institutions without prejudice to any particular profession.
- Heads of department: It was decided that universities of teaching hospitals cannot be separated from their teaching hospitals. The FMOH was directed to always accommodate the necessity of change in policy and guidelines as no policy should be seen as sacrosanct.
- Specialist Allowance: The FMoH is to enlarge the three-man committee that is considering the eligibility for specialist allowance to accommodate two members of JOHESU.
- Board appointment to Institutions: The final approval is being awaited from the President while HMoH should put more pressure to ensure board appointment.
- PPP: If Public Private Partnership is inevitable it must not be any measure to impoverish Nigerians and send workers out of the job. All stakeholders must be mobilized and involved in planning and execution of the program.
- Anti-corruption struggle at FMC Owerri: Those that are being punished as a result of strike action at FMC Owerri to be promoted to level up with their counterparts. The FMoH and Labour agreed to take up the issue of withheld salary to be discussed and settled internally.
- Retirement age from 60-65: It was agreed that retirement should be adjusted as done for their counterpart in the Education Sector
- Additional Demands: Need to urgently set up a collective bargaining agreement committee to look at the following allowances for JOHESU members, such as headship allowance, administrative allowance, professional allowance, excess work load allowance, health and safety site allowance.
JOHESU DEMANDS NOT IMPLEMENTED
JOHESU claimed that the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan agreed to implement these demands in 2015.
However, the Minister of Health insisted that there was no agreement between the Federal Government and JOHESU prior to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said what JOHESU brandished as 2014 agreement were minutes of meetings they had with the organs of Federal Government.
The implication of when the agreement was reached is that JOHESU wants government to pay arrears from 2014, and not September 2017 which the Buhari administration agreed to. This is one of the demands the minister brandish as implemented.
Furthermore, the adjustment in the salaries of doctors have been implemented since 2014 and JOHESU is also demanding that the same measures should be applied to its members from 2014, rather than 2017 when Buhari’s administration agreed to review the salaries of JOHESU.
Despite the disagreement on when the implementation should start, some of the 15-point demand by JOHESU has not been implemented, contrary to claims by the Minister of Health. For example, the government has not increased the retirement age of JOHESU members from 60 to 65 years.
Also the skipping of Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS 10) arrears has not been paid as well as the implementation of the scale to scale promotion, especially on CONHESS 14 to 15.
Other demands that have not been implemented include employment of health workers to address the shortage of manpower in critical professional areas.
CONCLUSION: The statement by the Minister of Health that all the 14 of the 15 demands of JOHESU have been met by government is false.