Nigerian doctors to embark on fresh indefinite strike

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BY FOLASHADE KEHINDE

Uba Group

THE National Association of Resident Doctors is set to lead doctors in public health facilities, nationwide, on a fresh industrial action if its lingering demands are not addressed.

The Association of Resident Doctors in public hospitals made this known in a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, signed by NARD President, Dr Emeka Orji.

The doctors said their National Executive Council meeting had been scheduled for January 24 to 28 2023, where a final decision on the strike action would be taken.

The issues raised in the letter included omitted 2020 MRTF payment; irregularities in the new MRTF circular inconsistent with the Medical Residency Training Act, existing Collective Bargaining Agreements and current economic realities as well as Review of CONMESS salary structure.

The letter was titled: “Imminent National Industrial Disharmony in Health Sector: A Matter of Urgent Administrative Importance”.

Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Director Budget Office, Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, and the
Inspector-General of Police, were copied, among others.

The letter read in full: ”We bring you warm season’s compliments from the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors(NARD).

“Recall Sir, that NARD issued an ultimatum to the Federal Government 6 months ago on account of lingering unresolved issues affecting our members, including the irregularities in the new circular on upward review of the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), outstanding payment of the arrears of the new hazard allowance, nonpayment of the skipping arrears for 2014, 2015 and 2016, nonpayment of the consequential adjustment of minimum wage to some of our members, delay in the upward review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure(CONMESS), Salary arrears of our members in State Tertiary Health Institutions running into several months, including Abia, Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe States, and non-domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) in most states across the Federation.

“We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the government through it’s ministries, departments and agencies in resolving some of the issues raised. However, many of them remain largely unresolved and have now become sources of serious nationwide agitation threatening industrial peace and harmony in the health sector.
Notable ones amongst them include

• Omitted 2020 MRTF payment

• Irregularities in the new MRTF circular are inconsistent with the Medical Residency Training Act, existing Collective Bargaining Agreements and current economic realities.

• Review of CONMESS salary Structure

“Sir, our January 2023 National Executive Council meeting has been scheduled for January 24th to 28th 2023, and we can confirm very clearly feelers that if these issues are not sorted out before that meeting, our members will likely give us a mandate to immediately kick-start processes that will lead to a nationwide industrial disharmony in the health sector.

“Sir, we know how critical this period is and the chaos that will ensue if the government does not take steps to prevent this from happening, and so we humbly implore you to use your good offices to resolve these issues before our January NEC meeting.
Sir, we trust in your fatherly disposition and believe that you will come to our aid and save this nation from this imminent industrial disharmony.

“Attached are various communique released after our July 2022 Lafia NEC meeting, August 2022 Ilorin Extraordinary NEC meeting and the September 2022 Annual General Meeting.
Please accept the assurances of our esteemed regards.“