Kogi workers divide over proposed percentage salary payment

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Workers on the payroll of the Kogi state government remain divided over the proposed percentage salary payment by the state government.

A correspondent of Duaglobalnews, an online publication in Lokoja, reports on Sunday that the state branch of the United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC), in its statement commemorating Workers’Day, rejected the proposed payment.

However, its counterpart in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), during the same event called for “fair deal” in such salary payment.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Kogi chapter has Joined other affiliate bodies in rejecting the proposed percentage salary payment, to its members.

NMA which made its stance known in a statement by Dr Kabiru Zubair, its state Chairman on Sunday in Lokoja strongly rejected any salary cut for doctors and other health care workers (HCWs) in the state.

Zubair said: ”The attention of the NMA, Kogi State Chapter, has been drawn by her affiliate bodies in the state to the proposed wage cut by the Kogi State Government(KSG).

”The NMA is not unaware of the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 and the consequent economic down turn. But NMA strongly rejects any salary cut for doctors and other health care workers (HCWs).

”This is because, doctors in Kogi have just been getting along on half salary before now, occasioned by the non implementation of corrected CONMESS (Consolidated Medical Salary Structure).N

“There is also non implementation of the new minimum wage of N30,000 and it’s consequential adjustment, skipping and relativity, promotion and annual step increment.

”Hence, the average doctor working with the Kogi Civil Service is already at a serious financial disadvantage, compared to their counterparts at Federal or other states in the Federation where these salary adjustment have been implemented.”

Zubair stressed that any further cut on the salaries of doctors and other HCWs in the state would further impoverish them and certainly accelerate the exodus of doctors from the state civil service.

He added that doctors and other HCWs, who were the footsoldiers at the forefront of the fight against the ongoing global pandemic COVID-19 and were being appreciated across to globe.

He added that the Federal Government had recently increased the hazard allowance of all HCWs from the paltry N5,000 monthly by 50 per cent of their consolidated basic salary.

The move he said was to encourage and retain them to do more for the nation, describing the action as commendable.

”The NMA expected Kogi State Government to take similar step to encourage and retain her HCWs at this time and not to cut wages.

”This is not the time to start loosing doctors and other HCWs, due to salary matters as we are in the middle of a healthcare war that we do not know when it will end,” Zubair added.

He further drew the attention of Kogi Government to the emerging challenges HCWs faced with respect to patients’ management in hospitals, especially due to ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic.

He said drawing such attention became imperative, given the fact that community transmission of the pandemic disease had continued to escalate in Nigeria.

Zubair noted that feedback from NMA members in various hospitals revealed that it was becoming difficult for them to manage patients with other clinical conditions, without first excluding COVID-19.

This challenge, he said, became prominent especially with patients coming from high risk states in the Federation such as Lagos, Kano, and FCT.

”It is no longer news that over 100 HCWs have been infected by this virus and some have paid the supreme price.

“Hence, most hospitals are on red alert and consider all patients as potential carrier of Covid-19.

”Because of this high level of suspicions, doctors prefer to rule out COVID-19 in patients they considered as high risk before proceeding to manage them for their clinical conditions.

”It should be noted that if doctors should attend to one unknown case of COVID-19 in the hospital settings, it might spread to many HCWs and their families,” he said.

The NMA state Chairman therefore advised the state government to open the channel for testing to mitigate the unhealthy development.

In the same vein,he urged all HCWs to be on guard and resist any attempt to attend to patients without observing all the necessary precautions against COVID-19.

The online publication gathered that negotiation between the state government and organised labour continued with the labour intimating its members on the development before arriving on the final decision on the issue, based on the aggregate decision of the workers.

The state government anchored the proposed percentage salary payment to the dwindling monthly revenue coming to from the Federation Allocation Account, due to the effect of Coronavrus on the global economy, particularly the fall in crude oil price.

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