Doctors declare total, indefinite strike

THE National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has declared a total and indefinite strike.

The group’s president, Emeka Orji, disclosed this in a statement released on Tuesday night.

Orji said the strike would begin 12:00 am, Wednesday, July 26.

NARD members work in public hospitals, meaning the strike may affect virtually all public hospitals across Nigeria.

The resident doctors are demanding immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), release of the circular on one-for-one replacement, payment of skipping arrears, and upward review of Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) in line with full salary restoration to the 2014 value of CONMESS.

Others are payment of the arrears of consequential adjustment of minimum wage to the omitted doctors, reversal of the downgrading of the membership certificate by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), payment of new hazard allowance, skipping and implementation of corrected CONMESS in State Tertiary Health Institutions, and payment of omitted hazard allowance arrears.

The strike follows NARD’s May 15 declaration of a five-day warning strike to compel the Federal Government accede to its demands.

Until then, NARD had downed tools for 159 days since 2013, making the group the only association of workers in the nation’s health sector that has gone on strike beyond 100 days within the period.

NARD’s current strike is the first major workers face-off with the Federal Government since President Bola Tinubu took over power on May 29.

A similar decision taken by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over fuel subsidy was shelved by the workers’ leadership early June.

The ICIR in December 2021, reported that incessant strikes by the association and other health workers working in Federal Government-run hospitals resulted in the loss of about 300 working days between 2013 and 2021.

NARD ordered 61 per cent of the strikes.

The association was responsible for 11 of the 19 industrial actions recorded within the period.

The association went on strike for 154 days out of the total 252 days of industrial action recorded by the government as of that year.

The ICIR obtained the data on strikes in the sector from a response to a Freedom of Information Act request it sent to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, headed by Chris Ngige, in August 2021.

The request followed incessant industrial actions by employees in the nation’s public hospitals.

Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's the ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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