LUTH explains non-promotion of 71 nurses, payment of allowance
Urges workers to return to work, invokes ‘no work no pay’ rule
The management of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, has explained its inability to meet the demands of striking nurses under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), LUTH Chapter.
The nurses, who unilaterally downed tools on June 10, 2016, are demanding, among other things, non-promotion of 71 members of their association in the 2015 promotion exercise; and non-payment of teaching allowance to LUTH nurses.
But the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, who faulted the strike action, urged them to go back to work and that they would not be paid for the days they are on strike.
Bode told The Guardian that the ongoing strike action has been called because among the 71 persons concerned are several union officials who failed to obtain the requisite degree and are now in fear of being overtaken by their better qualified younger colleagues, especially now that the 2016 promotion examinations are about to commence.
The CMD, who stated that the LUTH management had been assisting the union to press home its request, however, said the management could not and would not disobey constituted authority to pacify striking nurses who know very well that the final decision to promote workers rests with higher authorities.
On the non-payment of teaching allowance to LUTH nurses, Bode said: “This is a mischievous allegation as everyone knows that nurses are paid directly from Abuja on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) government platform and the hospital has no hands in it. Salaries, allowances such as uniform, teaching allowances are computed and paid directly to each nursing member of staff by the Federal Government.”
The paediatric surgeon, who said there was no place for service withdrawal as a means of conflict resolution in the health sector, urged all LUTH workers to join hands in elevating our institution, saying: “Above all, let it be clearly understood that in line with existing regulations, no payment shall be made for work not done.”
The Guardian reliably gathered that in 2015, LUTH interviewed and recommended for promotion over 200 nurses, including many who had stagnated over several years due to various policies of previous governments. A list of 600 successful LUTH workers, including these nurses, was forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) for approval with suitable recommendations that they should be promoted. The ministry, however, excluded 71 nurses without the B.Sc. degree in Nursing, pointing out the existing provision made by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria which stipulates that a nurse must possess a B.Sc. degree in Nursing to advance beyond Level 12 of the current salary scale.
It was learnt that when the union stridently insisted that LUTH management should countermand the directive of the FMOH and promote the 71 nurses, they were advised and asked to seek direct and further clarification from the ministry. The association wrote a letter the Minister of Health on this issue and the NANNM chairman was severally implored to open up channels of communication and canvass her association’s position at various levels of government as allowed in this new democratic era. The FMOH promised to look into the complaints as well as ongoing concerted efforts by the ministry to find an amicable solution to her association’s grievance.