Federal Medical Salary Structure Not Binding on States.
THE Delta State government, on Tuesday, reiterated that the new salary structure approved for medical and dental workers in the federal public service is not binding on the state.
It said there was no directive in the circular that states should implement the new salary package, adding that the strike by medical workers who wanted the implementation of the circular in the state was uncalled for.
The National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, in a circular S/NC/S/04/S4/0/220, dated September 29, 2009, approved the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (conmess) and the associated allowances for health workers in the federal public service, which came into effect in January.
Reacting to the lingering industrial dispute by medical workers in the state for the past two weeks, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Joseph Otumara, described the action as premature and unfortunate, adding that they should go back to work.
"To proceed on strike, therefore, on a circular that affects federal agencies without due process as enshrined in labour law is not only unfortunate, but also illegal," he said.
The commissioner said as a federation, the Federal Government could not lord it on the states, just as the states could not lord it on local government areas as stipulated in the constitution.
According to him, though the circular was not binding on states, Delta still went ahead and approved 60 per cent of the 100 per cent of their demand, but lamented that all entreaties to the workers to go back to work fell on deaf ears.
He said the financial implication of the approval had made the wage bill in the sector to rise from N3.4 billion to N9 billion annually, adding that there were 62 hospitals, 500 primary health centres and a teaching hospital in the state. He acknowledged the fact that scores of patients might have died as a result of the strike