Health professionals across Kwara State’s 16 Local Government Areas have received monthly salaries based on the entire 100 per cent Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), starting January 2024. This development follows an agreement between the state government and organized labour, as confirmed by Comrade Saheed Olayinka, Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kwara State Council.
The resolution to implement CONHESS for local government health workers comes after the Joint Labour Unions issued a 14-day ultimatum to the state government on January 12, 2024, demanding the resolution of several unmet worker grievances. These included the non-implementation of a N35,000 wage award, refusal to implement a 40 per cent peculiar allowance and other issues related to pension adjustments, unpaid arrears, and hazard allowances.
In response to these demands, the state government, led by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Prince Mahe Abdulkadir, negotiated with the labour unions, approving the allowance for local government areas. Health workers have expressed their satisfaction with the January salary adjustments, including the directed payment of hazard allowances to all categories of local government health workers.
The state government’s commitment extends beyond CONHESS and hazard allowance, with plans to address arrears of salaries for local government workers and teachers under the State Universal Basic Education Board, ranging from 20 per cent to 50 per cent. Additionally, the backlog of promotion arrears for 2020, 2021, and 2022 is set to be cleared, with financial benefits to follow the issuance of promotion letters.
This agreement represents a significant step forward in the ongoing negotiations between organized labour and the state government, aiming to improve the welfare of the workforce in Kwara State.
The recent implementation of the 100 per cent Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for health workers across Kwara State’s local government areas marks a pivotal moment in its commitment to its public health sector employees. This move, a direct outcome of the negotiations between the state government and organized labour, signifies a broader recognition of the essential role that health workers play in the fabric of our society.
The decision to fully implement CONHESS, alongside the payment of hazard allowances, reflects a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by health professionals, especially in the local government areas. It acknowledges the need for a fair compensation structure that rewards the invaluable service these workers provide and ensures their motivation and retention within the public health system.
The state government’s readiness to address other longstanding issues, such as salary arrears and promotion backlogs, demonstrates a holistic approach to labour relations. It is a testament to the power of dialogue and collective bargaining in resolving disputes and advancing the welfare of workers.
As we commend this progress, we must continue fostering a culture of negotiation and mutual respect between the government and its workforce. The health of our citizens and the strength of our public health institutions depend on the well-being and satisfaction of those who serve them. This development should serve as a model for other states, highlighting the importance of investing in the workforce as a cornerstone of public service excellence.
Let this moment be a reminder of the value of health workers to our community and the need for ongoing efforts to improve their working conditions. Through such commitments, we can build a more resilient and responsive healthcare system capable of meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.
Did You Know?
- The Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) is designed to harmonize the salaries of health workers across Nigeria, considering the unique challenges and risks they face.
- Kwara State is located in North Central Nigeria, with Ilorin as its capital, and comprises 16 Local Government Areas.
- The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is Nigeria’s leading umbrella organization for trade unions.
- Labour negotiations are crucial in shaping the policies and practices that affect workers’ rights and welfare across various sectors.
- Implementing CONHESS and hazard allowances for health workers is a significant step towards improving healthcare delivery in local communities, ensuring that health professionals are adequately compensated for their services.