The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said on Wednesday the Federal Government and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) would continue their negotiations on the proposed new hazard allowance for doctors working in government-owned hospitals next week.
The minister, according to a statement issued by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Charles Akpan, stated this at a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Salaries with the leadership of NMA and its affiliates in Abuja.
He recalled that discussion on hazard allowance began with all the health workers in March but along the line, the NMA disagreed on fundamental principles of negotiation with the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU).
He appealed to the NMA and JOHESU to sheath their swords and allow the conclusion of the discussion before the end of September.
Ngige said: “If we conclude the discussion, it is to the health workers’ advantage because it has to be captured in the 2022 budget. The government will also look at its purse and if there is money, the President will sign and it will be a win-win situation for all of us.
“Last week, we discussed this with JOHESU. We had a fruitful discussion. It is in that spirit that I am asking you that this should be fruitful so that we can rest the issue of N5,000 hazard allowance.
“In 2020, it was not the NMA and JOHESU who informed the government. It was by our own volition that we invited both sides to the meeting where we handed over special COVID-19 allowances to medical, dental workers, and other allied health workers and we did it seamlessly.
‘I don’t know whether it was because of the fear of COVID-19 that you worked together. Today, the divide is there. Having read the altercation between the NMA and JOHESU, which is in the media, we can’t believe that both of you are managing one patient.
“We are appealing to NMA and JOHESU, let us unite and see how we can navigate this thing. This is the COVID-19 period. Stop this dichotomy between the two bodies. Both of you are managing one patient. It is teamwork. Nobody can do it alone.”
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