BY: George Odok, NAN
Workers in the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital (FNPH) in Calabar have staged a peaceful protest over what they described as “injustice” in the payment of Covid-19 hazard allowance to health workers in tertiary health institutions.
The workers said some category of staff which include clinical staff, nurses, pharmacists, medical laboratory and some health assistance were paid 40 per cent.
They lamented that the accountant, environmental officers, the administrators, auditors and store keeper including cleaners where paid 10 per cent.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workers carried placards such as ‘Covid-19 hazard allownace: pay the 30 per cent allowance now’, ‘we say not to 10 per cent, pay us our balance now,’ Ministry of Health drifting to animal farm’ among many others.
Speaking, Mr Daniel Odo, Chairman of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) FNPH branch, said that all staff in the hospotal were vulnerable to all risk and outbreaks.
Odo maintained that all workers in the hospital were health workers, adding that it was the reason why all workers of the hospital irrespective of rank were paid N5,000 as hazard allowance.
“As a branch of JOHESU, we say bold no to the skewed implementation of the payment of Covid-19 hazard and inducement allowance which was approved for all health workers by the Federal Government.
“The haphazard selection of few members who were paid jumbo 40 per cent of their basic consolidated salary and the remaining half, a paltry 10 per cent was aimed at divide and rule us.
“In the spirit of our resolved and solidarity that an injury to one, is an injury to all, I appeal to the generality of our members and particularly those that were privileged to receive the jumbo pay to be part of the collective struggle.
“We cannot guarantee industrial peace in the health sector until we are paid the balance of 30 per cent. We have never and we cannot accept that our hospitals have become the animal farm where all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others,” he said.
Also speaking, the Secretary of JOHESU in FNPH, Mr Ken Bassey, said the peaceful protest was not against the management of the hospital, but rather it was agreed by the national body of JOHESU that they staged a peaceful protest to demand for the 30 per cent balance.
Bassey also maintained that every worker in the hospital was also at risk of any health challenge or disease outbreak.
“This peaceful protest is to send a message to the Federal Government over the displeasure and injustice in the payment of the Covid-19 hazard allownace.
“The payment was to compensate the health workers for the risk they face in service delivery and for handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
“But surprisingly, when the payment was effected, it was segregated. Some people were paid 40 per cent, while others got 10 percent.
“We are saying no because we face the same risk from the gate man who stands at the gate to the ambulance driver who drives the patients and all that; we must be paid and treated equally because this is not an animal farm where some people are treated more equal than others,” he said.
Addressing the protesters, Dr Bassey Edet, Managing Director of the Hospital, commended the staff for expressing their grievances, adding that he will communicate accordingly to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health.
“We will communicate to the authorities concerned. I feel pained myself because injustice done to one is done to all,” he said.