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 includes 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 keepers including cleaners where paid 10 per cent.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workers carried placards with some inscriptions such as COVID-19 hazard allowance, pay the 30 per cent allowance now’, and ‘we say no to 10 per cent,’ among others.
Speaking on Wednesday in Calabar, Daniel Odo, Chairman of Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, FNPH branch, said that every staff in the hospital was vulnerable to all risks and outbreaks.
Mr 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 to divide and rule us.
“In the spirit of our resolve 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,” he said.
Earlie, Secretary of JOHESU in FNPH, Ken Bassey, said management of the hospital was not against peaceful protest.
He added that rather it was agreed by the national body of JOHESU that they staged a peaceful protest to demand for the 30 per cent balance.
Mr 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 allowance.
“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 per cent.
“We are saying no because we face the same risk from the gateman to the ambulance driver 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 would communicate accordingly to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health.