Resident doctors begin indefinite strike
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has embarked on indefinite industrial action.
The National President of the association, Dr Innocent Orji, made this known via a whatsapp message to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) late on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, the major demands of the association are immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), immediate release of the circular on one-for-one replacement and payment of skipping arrears.
Others are upward review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) in line with full salary restoration to the 2014 value of CONMESS and payment of arrears of the consequential adjustment of minimum wage to omitted doctors.
The association also demands the reversal of the downgrading of the membership certificate by Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).
NAN reports that the association had in a communique on July 5 after its virtual Extraordinary National Executive Council Meeting (E-NEC), issued fresh notice to the Federal Government to meet its demands within two weeks or risk industrial disharmony in the health sector.
The communique was signed jointly by NARD’s National President, the Secretary-General, Dr Chikezie Kelechi and the Publicity and Social Secretary, Dr Umar Musa.
NAN also reports that members of the association embarked on a five-day warning strike on May 17, urging the Federal Government to address its concerns before May 29 otherwise there would be industrial disharmony.
The industrial action was embarked upon after the two-week ultimatum issued on April 29 expired on May 13.
Members of the association however suspended the strike on May 21.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas had on Monday urged the resident doctors to suspend the impending strike during a meeting between the leadership of the House and NARD in Abuja.
He said “I urge you to suspend the impending industrial action while we intervene, and seek your understanding of the fact that a new administration just came on board.”
He further said that the adminsitration was still in the process of settling down as ministers were yet to assume office.
He said NARD’s decision to meet with the House was an affirmation of their faith and confidence in the House capacity to intervene and resolve the lingering issues in dispute.