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NANNM Eighth-Point Industrial Arbitration ( IAP ) Award

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Kunle Emmanuel
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NANNM Eighth-Point Industrial Arbitration ( IAP ) Award

Unread post by Kunle Emmanuel » Sat May 23, 2015 5:42 pm

The issue of the eighth-point award of the IAP received the greatest continuous attention of the entire successive NEC of the NANNM that served during the period of its implementation. The same was equally applicable to the state chapters. It dominated the proceedings at the biennial conferences.

The Awards in their original form, unedited, are as follows

INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION PANEL TRIBUNAL HOLDING IN LAGOS BEFORE
Oritseje Efueye, Esq. .. Chairman
Afolabi Adenekan Adio-Moses……Arbitrator
John Olusola Adegbesan……………Arbitrator

In the matter of a Trade Dispute No. IAP/L/43/79
BETWEEN:
The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives)…………………..1st Party
AND
The Federal Ministry of Health …………………2nd Party

AWARD OF THE TRIBUNAL
(WRITTEN BY JOHN OLUSOLA ADEGBESAN)
The Federal Commissioner for Labour, by an instrument dated 6th September, 1979, referred to the Industrial Arbitration Panel the dispute existing between the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives herein after referred to as the 1st party and the Federal Ministry of Health herein after called the 2nd party.

2. The Terms of Reference required the Tribunal to enquire into the dispute over the following issues:
(1) Professional Status;
(2) Legal Coverage to the clinical performance of Nurses;
(3) Involvement of Nurses in policy making and planning;
(4) Creation of the Directorate of Nursing;
(5) Representation on various management boards at national and state levels;
(6) Post-graduate education and training, as well as
(7) Nurses and basic health service scheme and to make such awards having regard to the circumstances of the dispute, and such other matters pertaining thereto or there from as the Industrial Arbitration Panel may deem necessary.

TRADE DISPUTE ACT, 1979
Trade Dispute
The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives
and
Federal Ministry of Health
Confirmation of Award Notice 1981

Pursuant to the provision of Section 9(3) of the Trade Dispute Act, 1976, (as now retitled by the capitation of Lagos Re-Designation of Decrees, etc)
Order 1981) the Industrial Arbitration Panel Award made on 24th April, 1980, and set out in the Schedule hereto, has been confirmed by me, the Federal Minister of Employment, Labour and Productivity and shall have effect as so confirmed in accordance with the provision.

Schedule Terms of Award
Name of Arbitration “The Tribunal Awards”
Tribunal, etc. 1. (a) That Nursing is profession sui generic subject to no directions or control whatsoever by any profession so ever except in so far as it forms parts of an organic whole.
The National (b) that in the Health Care Delivery Service Association of of the country the Nursing profession is Nigeria Nurses and on the parity with the Ministry of Midwives and Federal Health profession of pharmacy

2. Entry point to graduate registered and Public Health Nurses shall be point 1 on GL. 08, all other registered nurses/midwives shall enter on GL. 07 for twelve calendar months after which they shall automatically proceed to
point 1 on GL. 08. Accordingly, the aforementioned Grade Levels shall accommodate Staff Nurses only.

3. Professional scale shall be by merit and shall not be subjected to any time scale within any grade.

4. The highest paid nurses in the career structure of the profession, that is, the Chief Matron, Chief Nursing Officer in the Federal Service, the Public Health and the Occupational Health Sectors immediate effect on GL.14.

5. The post of the Director of Nursing shall be kept constantly in view so that it may be created as soon as it is opportune. The Tribunal does not feel called upon to make award as to what Grade Level this post shall attract.

Terms of Award
6. An Act of the National Assembly giving legal definition and coverage to duties and functions of Nurses, according to the Scheme and course content of their training, should, as a matter of urgency, be brought into the existence if it had not already been in existence.

7. Nurses/Midwives at the appropriate Executive levels shall be actively involved in policy making and planning of Nursing and Health Care Delivery at all levels of Government in the country and also at International level as necessary. This, in practical terms, shall include consultation with and include nurses/midwives in all statutory health bodies such as Boards of Management, Panels and Commission to the appropriate Ministers.

8. There shall be consultation, as a matter of Policy, on all aspects of nursing education, training and research at basic and post-basic levels. The Act of the National Assembly referred to above shall provide legislative mandate for such consultation and involvement.

Dated at Lagos, this 30th day of March, 1981.
(Sgd) S. Adebisi. Ogedengbe
Federal Minister of Employment,
Labour and Productivity

Following the above, the Executive General Secretary of NANNM issued the following statement in order to make the awards clearer and better understood for implementation:
Award 1(a) That Nursing is a profession sui generis subject to no directions or control whatsoever by any profession whatsoever except in so far as it forms parts of an organic whole;
(b) That in the Health Care Delivery Service of the country the Nursing profession is on parity with the profession of pharmacy as is the case in Britain.

Award Items 2, 3, & 4:
These related only to salaries adjustment and upward progression in grades and not the core subject of professionalism.
Award Item 5. That the post of Directorate of Nursing Services be created as soon as it is opportune. It is a well-known fact that for new posts to be created, in the public service, certain things must be done and steps taken and satisfied. This was the argument of the officials all along, hence the award was worded in the manner to allow all these procedures to be carried out.
Award 6 A decree giving legal definition and coverage to the duties and functions of nurses and midwives, according to the syllabus/curriculum and course content of their training, should be promulgated to be known as “Nurse Practice Act” in due consultation with the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives. The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria should also be equal in status and function with any other professional statutory body. Its composition and other aspects should be reviewed in consultation with NANNM.

It is a matter of regret that the council has not been reconstituted since October 1983 up till now.
Award 7 Federal and State Governments should issue definite policy statements, directives and amendments to the existing decrees and edicts on the active involvements and participations of nurses/midwives at the appropriate levels in policy making and planning of Nursing and Health Care Delivery at all levels of Governments in the country and also at international levels as necessary. This, in practical terms, shall include consultation with and inclusion of nurses/midwives adequately in all statutory health bodies such as Boards of Management, Panels and Commissions to the appropriate Ministers/Commissioners. For this aspect of the award to be fully implemented to the letter, there should be no Board, Panel, Commission, delegation, etc. created and or appointed without adequate consultation and representation of nurses and midwives as it is the case now with many panels set up all over the Federation without nurses/midwives and where they are, it is just one as against many from other professions.

Award 8 There should equally be a policy statement and or directive by the Federal and State Governments making it mandatory that there should be consultation with the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on all aspects of Nursing education, training, research and practice at basic and post-basic levels.
Since the award was not negotiable at all, the association demanded nothing short of full implementation.
1(a) The Federal and State Government should issue white paper and or policy statements stating unambiguously full professional independence / autonomy of nursing and nurses within the Ministries of Health, Health Management Boards and in all Health/Medical institutions throughout Nigeria.

(b) Nurses and Midwives all over Nigeria in whatever position and work setting must enjoy the same professional recognition, career/scheme and conditions of service like all other professional groups in the public service of Nigeria in accordance with award 1(a) & (b) e.g. pharmacists, doctors, etc. The Establishment Department of the Office of Head of Service with its counterparts in the 19 States of the Federation (at that time) should prepare the professional scheme and conditions of service comparable with those of other professional groups and issue necessary Establishment Circular on same.

2. That an immediate machinery be set up by the Office of Head of Service, Establishment Department, Federal Civil Service and State Ministries of Establishments and Training/Employment and Civil Service Matters in conjunction with the association and Federal/States Ministries of Health to prepare and draw a new professional scheme of service that will guarantee a career structure equal and at par with those of other professionals in the public service and in line with the award e.g. Doctors, Pharmacists, etc.

3. The post of Directorate of Nursing must be created as it is more than opportune since three years the award was made and more so that the Federal Ministry of Health has seven directorates out of which five were headed by doctors whereas Nursing is still under the Medical (Doctor’s) Directorate.
In all the Teaching Hospitals, there are at least three Directorates with none for Nursing and Nurses with the largest single Professional personnel who render the largest of the total services. In the States’ Ministries of Health and Management Boards the posts should be created and or the Chief Nursing Officers at the Ministries and Boards be equal in status and salary grade levels independent and autonomous like other professional chiefs. Many states and Boards all over Nigeria are prepared to create and fill the posts immediately the Federal Government white paper is issued while some few states and even Federal Health institutions had created the Directorate or Assistant Directorate on their own.

4. A top Executive “Priority Bill” giving legal definition and coverage to the duties and functions of nurses, according to the Scheme/Syllabus and course content of their training, should be sent to the National Assembly for legislation immediately after due consultation with the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives.

5. Federal and State Governments’ policy statements and directives and amendments to existing acts of National and State Assemblies should be issued on the active involvement of Nurses/Midwives at the appropriate executive levels in policy making and planning of Nursing and Health Care Delivery at all levels of Government in the country and also at international level as necessary. This, in practical terms, shall include consultation with, and inclusion of nurses/midwives in all statutory Health bodies such as Boards of Management, Panels and Commission to the appropriate ministers/commissioners.

6. A policy statement/directives should be put in place by the Federal and state governments, making it mandatory that there should be consultation with NANNM on all aspects of Nursing Education, Training and Research at basic and post-basic levels. That the act of the National/State Assemblies referred to above shall provide legislative mandate for such consultation and involvement.
A call on all newly set up National and state legislative assemblies throughout Nigeria to review the budget for health which is far below the health needs of the people of this country as well as their health status. Health is wealth and should therefore be given top, honest and real priority and not lip-service.

As the full implementation of the above is not strictly in terms of substantial naira and kobo only, an immediate attention and action on it can save this nation from the worst nation-wide industrial crisis any moment from now.
The interpretation and implementation of the award by different governments (states and federal) was grossly and deliberately done to suit their conveniences contrary to the clarification made by the Federal Government. No doubt, the award was implemented piecemeal and at different pace in different states and at the federal level.

A letter from the Lagos branch of the association to the Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Employment & Civil Service Matters on 10th December, 1981, bore full testimonies to the gross misinterpretation and different pace of implementation in different states. The full text of the letter ran thus:

No. 2, Oyebola Street,
Ojota – Off Ikorodu Road,
P.O. Box 3857,
Ikeja, Lagos.
Our Ref. NANNM/AD/003/10

The Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Employment & Civil Service Matters,
Secretariat,
Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja.

Dear Sir,
Re: Government’s Statement on the Implementation of the I.A.P. Award as it affects Nurses and Midwives in the Lagos State Public Service
“I have been directed to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of the above-named statement and to convey my association’s reaction to same.
1. First and foremost, I wish to state that my association maintains that your government has neither correctly interpreted the IAP awards nor has it fully implemented them.
2. It states that if the Chief Matrons who were previously on GL. 13 were automatically converted to GL. 14, their immediate Assistants who were previously on GL. 12 cannot be asked to remain on that same GL. 12, thereby earning two Grade Levels below their immediate seniors.
3. Similarly excepting the Nursing Sisters whose salary scale before the IAP awards was GL. 08 are automatically converted to GL. 09 (which is the new salary Grade Level for Nursing Sisters), that term of the award (B1) which states “accordingly the aforementioned grade levels (i.e. GL. 07 & GL. 08) shall accommodate staff nurses only” will be rendered meaningless, null and void.
4. Beside, excepting the Nursing Sisters/Midwifery Sisters, Senior Nursing and Midwifery Sisters and the Matrons I & II whose salary Grade Levels were 09, 10, & 11 respectively are automatically converted to their respective next Grade Levels, the salaries they earned before the struggle for professional status will not reflect such professional recognition.
5. My association maintains that the award B(ii) which states “progression to the higher levels on the professional scale shall be by merit and shall not be subject to any time scale within any grade” is a sub-section and a continuation of award B(i). Happily your government admitted this in your terms of agreement entered into with my association on 27/8/80 (vide page 2, p.7).

6. It is not in isolation. It refers to the entrants into the service – “the other registered Nurses/Midwives” who shall enter on GL. 07 for a period not exceeding twelve calendar months after which they shall automatically proceed to point (1) on GL. 08”
What it means is that the progression of this group of new entrants into salary Grade Levels above GL. 08 into which they were automatically converted will no longer be automatic. Their profession will have to be earned by merit only.
7. The other groups – Nursing and Midwifery Sisters, etc. – were already earning those promotions by merit only, so that that term could not have applied to them. It is well known that not all the staff of these groups were in the past automatically promoted.
8. Government’s insistence on letter of law especially in this respect when it was grossly and deliberately misinterpreted to suit its convenience and against Federal Government’s clarification and copied to all the States and Federal Medical institutions all over the federation is inconceivable and unfair to the Nurses and Midwives of Lagos State who had been loyal to, and co-operative with the government to make its policy on Health succeed in spite of all odds.
Mr. Williams Blackstone it was, who said: “No laws are binding on the human subject which assault the body or violate the conscience”. Similarly William J. Benjamin Jnr. stated that “Law cannot stand aside from the social changes around it”.
My association maintains, therefore, that it is not ready to compromise the new professional status viz a viz corresponding salaries nor is it ready to have its members appear inferior to their counterparts in other states and other medical institutions around them, be it the state or federal.

9. My association maintains that the struggle for IAP awards was a national struggle by nurses and it sees no reason why only a section of the nurses will enjoy the benefits of the struggle.

10. My association observes with regret that the government stated that nurses were misled into embarking upon this industrial action. This is unfortunate in view of my association’s repeated statements to the contrary and fruitless efforts to avert the strike action. The unflinching support which nurses and midwives all over the state had given and are still giving to this struggle will give lie to government’s statement in this respect.
11. If the government is not satisfied by the clarification given by the Federal Government on the terms of the Awards and is willing to go to National Industrial Court, my association is equally willing to go along with it, but regrets it cannot go back to work until the problem is resolved neither is it willing to reopen negotiation with the government that has made up its mind on the issue.
12. My association has been patient enough with the government which entered into agreement with it since August, 1980, but which did not attempt to implement the agreement right or wrong until given notice of industrial action in November, 1981.
13. The shabby treatment to which the association was subjected by the Lagos State Health Management Board’s (L. S. H. M. B) irregular promotion of 560 nursing officers into the same positions which they had previously held and gazetted with a Grade Level increase in order to appear as IAP conversion has reduced my association’s confidence in further meaningful negotiation with the government to the barest minimum.
Yours faithfully,
Olaide Ojo (Mrs.)
Secretary.”

Even though award items (2), (3) and (4) were relatively straightforward, it was still subject to deliberate misinterpretation and wrangling before implementation. These, were, however the first areas to be implemented. Among other things, a new registered nurse/midwife was to enter service on GL 07 for a period not exceeding 12 calendar months, after which she would automatically proceed to GL 08 Step 1. The Chief Nursing Officer was to be placed on GL 14 with other counterpart Chiefs in the service.
No doubt, the implementation of items (1), (5), (6), (7) and (8), which could be described as the main purport and kernel objectives, would curtail the influence and interference of other professionals in nursing practice. Resistance was therefore great from all enemies in all quarters, notwithstanding that their intransigence in sitting tight on the implementation of the award amounted to subtle contempt of the Court of competent jurisdiction which granted the award. It could also be considered as disloyalty to the Federal Government which confirmed the award of which faithful others ought to have implemented without procrastination. Indeed, the award items (1), (5), (6), (7) and (8) were the crux of the award and constituted the flesh and tissue of the quest by the association for professional autonomy for nurses and midwives.
It was not surprising that the demand for full and proper implementation of the awards had to be backed up by an industrial action in 1981.

(Culled from the book "Free at Last" which provides a thorough historical coverage of the Nursing profession in Nigeria and written by Pa Layi Jokotoye. You can read the full text of the book at freeatlast.comng)


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