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Resident doctors to commence nationwide strike over non-payment of COVID-19 hazard allowance

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THE Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), has announced that it would embark on an indefinite nationwide strike beginning from Monday, September 7 over government’s failure to pay its members the COVID-19 hazard allowances.

Aliyu Sokomba, President of the association,  Bilqis Mohammad, its Secretary and Egbogu Stanley, its Publicity Secretary in a statement issued after a virtual National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Wednesday, disclosed that the strike would begin after the 21-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government elapsed on August 17.

The association said the industrial action was necessitated by the refusal of the Federal Government to implement the residency funding despite its inclusion in the revised 2020 budget, coronavirus allowance, hazard allowance, and also outstanding salary shortfall of 2014, 2015, and 2016.

“NEC observed the insincerity of the government in determining the revised hazard allowance for all health workers which was supposed to commence in September 2020,” the statement read.

It lamented the plight of its members in state tertiary hospitals particularly the non-domestication and non-implementation of Medical Residency Training Act at the state level, the non-implementation of appropriate salary structure, and the nonpayment of owed salaries.

The association had in July embarked on a three-week warning strike to demand for the payment of hazard allowance  of its members in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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It was demanding the immediate payment of the medical residency training funding to all its members as approved in the revised 2020 budget and the provision of genuine group life insurance and death in service benefits for all its members.

Other demands are; “determination of the revised hazard allowance for all health workers as agreed in previous meetings with relevant stakeholders.

“Immediate payment of the salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“Doctors working under the various tertiary health institutions to be placed on appropriate salary grade level and universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 in all State tertiary health institutions.

“Payment of all arrears owed members in Federal and states tertiary health institutions, arising from the consequential adjustment of the National minimum wage.”

Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

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