Medical doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have agreed to commence an indefinite strike across the country with effect from Monday, August 2.
This action which is coming at a very critical time when the country is currently experiencing a rise in Covid-19 infections follows a directive issued on Saturday at the end of the executive meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union held in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
This disclosure was made by the National President of NARD, Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, while briefing the press after the meeting, saying that members have been asked to proceed on a nationwide indefinite industrial action.
What the National President of NARD is saying
Uyilawa said, “We are embarking on a total and indefinite strike on August 2, 2021. You can recall we had a memorandum of action on March 31, 2021, and had an addendum to it on April 9, and since then, we still have had irregularities in the payment of salaries to the house officers.
“We had issues with them being non-regular payment and as part of the memorandum of action, it was said that they should be captured back into the IPPS platform.’
“You are aware that we lost 19 members to COVID-19 and death in service insurance was supposed to be paid to their next of kin. The last time we met the minister of labour and minister of health, we were told that our members are part of those to be given the insurance benefit, but we found out that their names are not even there.”
The NARD President who cited the inability of the Federal Government to meet the demands of the doctors as part of the reasons for the decision to go on strike, apologised to Nigerians for the decision which he insisted was a result of the government’s failure in its responsibilities.
The doctors particularly demanded immediate withdrawal of the circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service, which was not implemented.
What you should know
- The doctors had embarked on industrial action in April, leaving many patients unattended across various government-owned hospitals in the country.
- They later suspended it 10 days later following a virtual meeting with members which lasted about 15 hours on April 10.
- Some of the issues raised by the medical practitioners as of then included the immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers, including March salaries (regardless of quota system) before the end of business on March 31.
- They also sought an upward review of the hazard allowance to 50% of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding Covid-19 inducement allowance, especially in state-owned-tertiary Institutions.
- The doctors called for the abolishment of the exorbitant bench fees being paid by their members on outside postings in all training institutions across the country.