International Midwifery Day: FG urged to pay withheld salaries

WorldStage Newsonline– The National Association of Nurses and Midwives has appealed for the payment of April and May 2018 salaries withheld by the Federal Government of Nigeria during the last Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) strike.

Mr Musa Mamman, the Acting President of the Association, made the call during the opening ceremony for the commemoration of the International Nurses and Midwives week on Tuesday in Abuja.

The acting president noted that the strike was called off and that part of the agreement signed by the parties was that no member of JOHESU would be victimised as a result of the strike.

“It is unfortunate that the salaries of our nurses and midwives for April and May 2018 are withheld by the federal government to date,” he said.

Mamman said the appeal was made in the interest of peace and harmony towards enhancing productivity by the members of the association.

He said the association had opened up channels of discussion with other stakeholders in the health industry to address inter and Intra professional misunderstanding with a view to rendering  quality healthcare services.

Mamman also appealed for the appointment of substantive Director of Nursing Services at the Federal Ministry of Health, improve security situation in the country, economy and unemployment, among others.

The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, said it was illegal and wrong to deny workers their two months salaries because collective bargain was not respected and workers were forced to down-tools.

Wabba who was the chairman of the occasion, said the situation was not the same in some ministries and agencies.

“We have seen it in education sector, the Minister of Education said he can’t apply no-work-no-pay policy and all their salaries were paid.

“Why should the healthcare sector be treated differently? I am happy to inform you that we have sent a memo to Mr President on some of these issues and it is receiving attention.

He said Nigerian workers would stand with Nurses and Midwives on this cause, adding that the no-work-no-pay policy was military decree of 1974 which was not enforceable.

“You cannot apply two rules in a system, if you fail to respect collective bargain agreement which is like consent judgment, you cannot turn around and say workers will  now be punished for exercising their right in their efforts to ensure that the agreement is respected.

“I hope that the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, will address the issue before the next dispensation, if not, there will not be peace for anybody that tries to sit on the rights of workers,’’ he said.

Adewole, represented by Francisca Okafor, Head Nursing Unit of the ministry, said the ministry recognised the sacrifice the nurses made in improving the health sector.

“The theme of the celebration, `Nurses: A voice to lead health for all’,  is  apt and in line with the programmes of this administration

“Internship programme for nurses which was approved in 2016 is progressing and it was implemented by most federal institutions.

“State governments and organised private hospitals should key into the programme so that we don’t have backlog of graduates waiting for internship placement,’’ he said.

The midwives day celebration was part of the activities to commemorate nurses and midwives week and the theme of the midwives day was “Midwives: Defender of Women Rights’.

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