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FG, Health Workers Agree 65 Years Retirement Age, Increased Salary

The Federal Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professions Association (AHPA).

On September 3, the unions gave the administration a two-week deadline to meet their demands.

Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour, met with the leadership of JOHESU in Abuja on Tuesday for a five-hour mediation meeting.

Ngige informed reporters that he and his colleagues had reached an agreement on a number of requests. Next week, a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed.

The meeting agreed to increase the hazard allowance, raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 years, and pay back the arrears of the national minimum salary adjustment.

Ngige noted that the government held four meetings with JOSEHU, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and their affiliates on hazard allowance.

He claimed that the NMA and a union formerly understood to be a part of JOHESU insisted on compartmentalization of the hazard allowance discussions, which the government agreed to.

Ngige revealed that the financial implications of what is owed to them have been communicated to JOHESU, who have agreed to educate their members and respond.

The administration will meet with the NMA next week to address hazard allowance separately. A total of N37.5 billion has been set aside.

Ngige assured Nigerians that the Buhari administration is not postponing the allowance, contrary to popular belief.

”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 retirement, Ngige said that the meeting received reports from Office of the Head of Service of Federation (HOSF) and the Ministry of Health.

He said the matter had already been handled by the HOSF’s office and transmitted to the National Council on Establishment for further processing at its meeting in December.

The meeting agreed that issues of non-implementation of allowances contained in the 2017 agreement, like consequential minimum wage adjustment and skipping, would be resolved.

On non-adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) as done with Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), Ngige said the matter was at the National Industrial Court (NIC).

The minister said after a litigation by a civil society organisation, the court advised JOHESU and its employer, the Federal Ministry of Health, to deliberate.

Ngige announced that the Tuesday meeting agreed that if the discussions fail, the matter should be brought back for conciliation.

The meeting touched additional JOHESU demands such as the 30 percent of shift duty allowance to nurses and others, and payment of outstanding allowance to intern health professionals.

Others, including the payment of teaching allowance to JOHESU members on CONHESS 7 and 8, and skipping of arrears, will be handled by the Ministry of Health.

On issues affecting union members in state health institutions, the Ministry of Health has been directed to collate them for amiable resolution.

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