The Federal Government has announced that it has reached a truce deal with the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) over demands.

This was disclosed in a statement by the FG after the conciliation meeting at the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige. This comes after JOHESU had earlier issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet their demands or face strike.

The Labour Minister revealed that both sides held fruitful discussions, assuring that the Memorandum of Understanding would be signed next week.

What the Minister said

Ngige said they discussed in a fraternal way and 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 (CONHESS) as done with Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).

On the hazard allowance, Ngige stated that the FG had held four meetings earlier with JOSEHU and NMA alongside their affiliates, but at a point, there were areas of departure.

“Based on 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, Government is meeting with NMA next week for their separate discussion on hazard allowance. Already the Federal Government has budgeted the sum of N37.5 B for this.

“The issue was resolved to the satisfaction of all of us. Government is not delaying the hazard allowance as some people want the public to believe. Since the past six months, 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,” he said.

On the review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years, Ngige stated that he received reports from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Health, which both agreed on the realism of the proposal.

The matter has already been handled by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation which has, in turn, transmitted same to the National Council on Establishment for further processing at its meeting in December 2021.

The Minister also assured that the issues of non-implementation of allowances contained in the 2017 agreement, such as consequential minimum wage adjustment and skipping would be taken holistically.

He added that JOHESU will meet with the Federal Ministry of Health on Thursday to draw up a framework for all the discussions to start.

“We will be ready to address all the issues. But we agreed that as a result of the perilous state of economy, the principle of capacity to pay will guide all our discussion,” he said.

In case you missed it

Recall Nairametrics reported earlier this week that the Federal Government said it is not owing doctors or other health workers in Nigeria monthly salary.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, during the opening of the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Salaries with the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) on Tuesday in Abuja.