Hours after the Federal Government announced an increment in the hazard allowance for physicians and health workers working in federal hospitals, medical centres and clinics in ministries, departments and agencies, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors has rejected the revised offer.
The increase in pay package, which was contained in a circular with reference number SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406 dated December 22, was signed by the Executive Chairman of the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.
The letter directed the commission to review upward the contentious N5,000 doctors' allowance to between N32,000 and N40,000 while health workers such as pharmacists, nurses and laboratory workers get between N15,000 and N34,000.
The circular read in part, “Concerning the review of the hazard allowance applicable to health workers in the services of the federal hospitals, medical centres and clinics in ministries, departments and agencies, the hazard allowance was reviewed to a flat rate that ranges from N5,000 to between N15,000 and N34,000 for health workers on the CONHESS salary structure, while doctors on CONMESS had theirs reviewed from N5,000 to between N32,000 and N40,000.”
In a swift reaction to the circular, a disgruntled NARD kicked against the revision, saying the new flat-rate does not reflect the collective bargaining agreement entered with the government.
The resident doctors' position was contained in a statement jointly signed by NARD National President, Dr Godiya Ishaya; Secretary General, Dr Suleiman Ismail; and Social Secretary, Dr Alfa Yusuf.
‘In the said circular, the Hazard Allowance was reviewed to a flat rate that ranges from N5, 000 to between N15, 000 and N34, 000 for health workers on the CONHESS salary structure, while doctors on CONMESS had theirs reviewed from N5, 000 to between N32, 000 to N40, 000.
“Whilst we acknowledge the FG’s frantic efforts in improving the welfare of Health Workers in Nigeria in this regard, we wish to state that, this resolution is a far cry from the Final Position of NMA/NARD in the last meeting with the FG. Hence, the NARD are disenchanted and dissatisfied with this resolution and therefore reject it in its entirety.
“This new hazard circular is not the product of a true collective bargaining agreement (CBA), but a one-sided conclusion that betrayed the spirit of sincere amicable wage negotiations,” the statement read in part.
The association further warned on the need to review the rate to prevent future protests and calls for renegotiation.