The Federal Government of Nigeria has reached a truce with aggrieved health workers under the Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare (JOHESU) Professionals, after a five-hour meeting on Tuesday.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige hosted the marathon meeting which began at 4 pm and ended around 9 pm with an understanding reached by both the FG and the unions.
Last week, JOHESU issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet their demands or face a strike. Ngige after Tuesday’s meeting said they held fruitful discussions and assured that the Memorandum of Understanding would be signed next week.
The Spokesman of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan in a statement titled, ‘FG, JOHESU reach truce, ‘explained that the parties reached an understanding on all the issues in dispute, including the enhancement of hazard allowance, review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years, the arrears of the consequential adjustment of the national minimum wage and upward adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure as done with Consolidated Medical Salary Structure.
Ngige, who disclosed that they had no problems with the old issues, noted that he encouraged the union to return to their employer, the Federal Ministry of Health for discussion on the new issues.
The Minister, while commenting on the hazard allowance, recalled that the government held four meetings earlier with JOHESU and NMA alongside their affiliates, but at a point, there were areas of departure.
According to him, the NMA and a union hitherto thought to be part of JOHESU demanded the compartmentalisation of the discussions on the hazard allowance, which the government granted.
The Labour Minister noted, “Based on the previous discussion, we delivered to them (JOHESU) the financial implication of what is due to them and they promised to get back to their members and report back to us. On the other hand, the Government is meeting with NMA next week for their separate discussion on hazard allowance. Already the Federal Government budgeted the sum of N37.5 billion for this.
“The issue was resolved to the satisfaction of all of us. The government is not delaying the hazard allowance as some people want the public to believe. Since the past six months, the government has been making concerted efforts to push the new hazard allowance into effect, which we are doing now but for disagreement between NMA and JOHESU.”