President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate payment of doctors’ salaries.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed this on Thursday.
Ngige said the President had ordered the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed to release the salaries of health workers.
This included doctors whose salaries were withheld while they enforced the no-work no-pay policy.
He said the salaries were approved in October while responding to questions from the state house.
He mentioned that the salaries released to the resident doctors was on a compassionate basis.
Why did President Buhari pay doctors salary?
According to Ngige, this was to motivate health worker for optimal work place performance.
The Minister noted that Joint Health Services Union who went on strike in 2018 are included.
His words: “The President graciously approved that we pay back some funds, some wages, which we did not pay health workers.
“First, section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act says that when a worker goes on strike, especially those on essential services, the employer can also refuse to pay. That is what they call the ‘No Work, No Pay Rule’.
“But these health sector workers; doctors, pharmacists, nurses and members of JOHESU, are trying to make sure that we create an equitable environment for them to function.
“As a first step, Mr. President last week directed the Minister of Finance to release the funds of the resident doctors for September and October 2021, which was seized in conformity with the law.
“In the same vein, the approval also covers members of the JOHESU who went on strike in 2018 for three months.
“After the first month, after March, when they couldn’t come back, we asked that their pay be suspended. This is in tandem with the ILO principles at work.
“You have a right to strike. But the employer has a right to stop your remuneration and if possible, use it to keep his enterprise going by taking new hands, where possible, especially in essential services.
“So, that same money for 2018 April and May, Mr. President has again approved that the Finance Minister refunds or re-imburses them on compassionate grounds.
“This is predicated on the grounds that this group of workers has been showing a lot of dedication and concern to the COVID-19 and that their Hazard Allowance for 2021 had remained what it was before.
“So, on compassionate grounds and…we agreed that they should be getting this money to keep their morale high. We’re not yet free of COVID-19 and the new mutants, we need to do everything to keep the health workers here happy.
“In the same vein, President Buhari has also directed us to conclude the discussions on the other allowances for the health workers so that they can enjoy it anytime from now.’’
Ngige further announced that the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages would commence on December 17. This is to validate the new hazard structured payment for health workers.
The Minister further said other allowances to improve the standard of living of health workers are underway.
He stressed om the importance of industry harmony for all sectors to function optimally.
Source PUNCH HealthWise