The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has disagreed with the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on the sustenance of a wide gap in salary structure between doctors and other health sector workers.
Mr Olusola Adediji, the Chairman of JOHESU, Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo, expressed the union’s position while speaking to journalists on Friday in Akure.
Adediji said there was no sincerity in the statement credited to the NMA on the application of the principle of “relativity” on the take-home pay for the two unions in the health sector, noting that there exists differences in the salaries of members NMA and JOHESU.
“NMA is a thorn in the flesh of progress because they dictate to government on their own salaries as well for what others should earn.
“They claim that they own health sector because they are at the helm of affairs in the sector, therefore, thinking that JOHESU should just be given peanuts as salary.
“These are the people that will tell you that they cannot do anything without laboratory results.
“They are holding the sector’s jugular and that is why we are doing fight-to-finish strike,” he said.
He explained that a medical doctor undergoing his house training is entitled to a monthly pay of N212,000 while a pharmacist on the same grade level will earn N120,000 per month.
The JOHESU chairman added that a medical doctor at FMC, Owo, collects N286,000 monthly as salary while his colleague in the pharmacy would take home N140,000.
“A director in pharmaceutical or laboratory services earns below N500,000 while a doctor, who is also a director, earns over N1.2 million.
“An entry point for a medical doctor is Grade Level 12 but a pharmacist will be given Grade Level 09, and yet the members of NMA are not comfortable.
“What relativity are they talking about again? And they think they should continue to widen the gap.
“Sadly, government always dances to their tune because all ministers and directors in the sector are dominated by doctors,” he stated.
He urged the Federal Government to respond positively to the agreed demands by JOHESU and end the lingering strike as it entered its fourth week.
“We are not going to stand on template dictated by NMA because NMA cannot do it alone.
“If we are not relevant there should not be pharmacist or physiotherapist in the system.
“I urge that everyone should work together as a team not that a group or organisation should see itself as the alpha and omega,” he advised.
But the Chairman of NMA in Ondo State, Dr Gbelela Dolani, described the on-going strike by JOHESU as “illegal” even as it is a protest against the current differentials between their take-home pay and medical doctors’ emoluments.
Dolani said that there was nowhere in the world that doctors and other health workers were entitled to the same salary structure, insisting that the government must also adjust doctors’ salaries approximately, if it accedes to JOHESU’s demand.
According to him, NMA will always defend the issue of relativity between its members work schedule and emoluments.
“JOHESU wants to act as if they are doctors; we are doing our work and if they are not there, we will continue to do what we can.
“We do not have anything against them, but if Federal Government decides to go the JOHESU way, the government should be ready for another war from NMA,’’ he said.