Rivers health workers withdraw suit against NLC

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba PHOTO: NAN

Primary health care workers in Rivers State have withdrawn a case they filed six months ago against the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over alleged neglect of welfare in the application of a harmonized salary scale for health care workforce.

To this end, the two parties will appear before the National Industrial Court to announce their resolve to settle out of court. Speaking when representatives of primary health care workers from Rivers met NLC President, Ayuba Wabba last Saturday in Abuja, Chairman of NLC in Rivers and a former state chairperson of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Beatrice Itubo noted that more than 3000 workers in primary health, under the aegis of MHWUN, were left out of harmonised health salary scale across the 23 local council areas of Rivers after council authorities failed to implement the scale for them.

She observed that no two local council health workers are paid similarly, and computation of pay and benefits are at the unilateral discretion of council authorities.

She said: “We will walk to the court and tell the world that health workers are civilised people and can resolve issues among themselves. When you are speaking as a body, undivided, I think government will hear what you are saying.”

Also speaking, President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Joe Biobelemoye said:“We have wasted two years speech making, We Will walk to court and tell the world that health workers ate civilised people and can resolve issues among themselves.”

Wabba in his remarks said resolving the dispute is an indication that the, “unity and sanctity of our movement is protected. This would strengthen workers’ bargaining power.”

He cautioned that labour must not be under any illusion that employer will give them their rights on a platter of gold. He observed that Rivers and Benue are among priority states the NLC will tackle for not paying workers and pensioners, insisting when workers are paid, such resulting spending power could help lift the country out of recession.

“Payment of salaries is not about resources; it is about priorities and we are not getting it right,” Wabba said of defaulting states. “For any system to get out of recession, citizens must have resources to buy and sell and pull the economy out of recession,” he noted.

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