Psychiatric hospital workers stage peaceful protest in Cross River State

Psychiatric Hospital Workers in the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital (FNPH) in Calabar have staged a peaceful protest alleging “injustice” in the payment of COVID-19 hazard allowance to health workers in tertiary health institutions.

The workers who staged the protest on Wednesday said some categories of staff which include clinical staff, nurses, pharmacists, medical laboratory, and some health assistance were paid 40 percent.

They lamented that the accountant, environmental officers, the administrators, auditors and storekeepers including cleaners were paid 10 percent.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘COVID-19 hazard allowance: pay the 30 percent allowance now’, ‘we say no to 10 percent, pay us our balance now,’ Ministry of Health drifting to animal farm’ among many others”.

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Speaking to newsmen, Mr. Daniel Odo, Chairman of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) FNPH branch, said all staff in the hospital were vulnerable to all risks and outbreaks.

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 a 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 a few members who were paid jumbo 40 percent of their basic consolidated salary and the remaining half, a paltry 10 percent was aimed at dividing and ruling us.

“In the spirit of our resolved 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

“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 percent, while others got 10 percent.

Addressing the protesters, Dr. Bassey Edet, Managing Director of the Hospital, commended the staff for expressing their grievances, adding that he will communicate accordingly to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health. “We will communicate with the authorities concerned. I feel pained because injustice done to one is done to all,” he stated.

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