The Professionals and Allied Workers Union (PAWU) of the National Health Insurance Authority(NHIA) has warned the management of the nation’s health insurance scheme to take immediate action and address all outstanding issues of concern of the over 3,000 staff of the Authority across the country else it will declare a nationwide strike.
A strong-worded letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority dated 8th November 2021, raised a number of issues which if not addressed immediately would result in a strike and laying down of tools.
The issues include the non-payment of staff salary arrears, long-standing discrimination in the implementation of staff benefits, refusal of management to implement staff notch movements, unlawful interdiction of staff, no medical support for ailing staff amongst others.
“We urge NHIA to speedily take appropriate measures to avert a looming industrial upheaval” the letter stated.
The letter, signed by the acting General Secretary of PAWU, Mr. Seth Abloso, said the situation risks affecting the impending commemoration of the NHIA because the staff are demoralized and demotivated. The letter stated that the Union shares in the frustration of staff of the undue delay which fuels the perception that the management and the Board of the NHIA are not responsive to the plight of staff.
Non-payment of salary arrears
The letter said, “Staff salary arrears from January to June 2020 continue to be outstanding despite repeated requests for the Authority to fulfill its obligations.” In 2020, the management of the NHIA after a negotiation with the Union approved a salary increment of 10%. Management has failed to implement this increment and has not met its part of the agreement. The union has been persisted in their request which has fallen on deaf ears. Staff of the NHIA across the country is speedily losing their patients as management has blatantly refused to pay the staff the arrears of 2020.
PAWU stated strongly in the letter that “Staff notch movements which should have been implemented in January 2021 has to date not been effected”. Management has also failed to implement the 3% salary notch movement for staff which was approved in 2018. Sadly, management has taken a posture of communicating to staff and derelicting on their duty.
The letter which is requesting for an urgent standing negotiating committee meeting said the staff Collective Agreement (CA) has not been reviewed for about four years and proposals submitted by the Union have not been responded to by management. Meanwhile, the CA is due to expire on 31st December 2021
The statement said in spite of the discriminatory behaviors by management, the entire membership of PAWU had exercised patience. It stated that although complaints of long-standing discrimination in the implementation of some benefits to staff have been acknowledged by management, the urgency required to address such grievous abuse has not been made manifest and the same discrimination persists unabated.
The statements noted that there are grievance issues of unlawful interdiction which require review and resolution
Find attached PAWU’s letter of 8th November 2021