By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has given notice of the commencement of an indefinite strike with effective Monday.
The doctors are demanding the payment of medical residency training for all its members as approved in the revised 2020 budget.
They are also seeking the provision of genuine group life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers; payment of the outstanding April/May and June COVID-19 inducement allowance to all health workers and determination of the revised hazard allowance for all health workers as agreed in previous meetings with relevant stakeholders.
Other demands of NARD are the immediate payment of the salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015 and 2016 and payment of all arrears owed its members in federal and state tertiary health institutions, arising from the consequential adjustment of the national minimum wage.
According to a communiqué signed by its President, Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, and Publicity Secretary, Dr. Stanley Egbogu, NARD said doctors working in the various tertiary health institutions should be placed on appropriate salary grade level and universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 in all state tertiary health institutions.
NARD said despite the inclusion of the residency funding in the revised 2020 budget, the government has not made plans to implement the payment despite several promises by several stakeholders.
While accusing the federal government of failing to procure group life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers, its NEC said that though an agreement had been reached between the government and stakeholders in the health sector to pay COVID-19 inducement allowance for six months (April – September), payment only commenced for April, May and June in some institutions, while the process was abandoned after that.
According to the communique, “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.
“NEC noted non-payment of the outstanding salary shortfall of 2014, 2015, 2016 under the guise of the so called appeal of the National Industrial Court decision that granted the judgment in favour of the payment in the first place by Federal Ministry of Health.
“NEC observed the plight of her members in state tertiary hospitals such as the non-domestication and non-implementation of medical residency training Act at the state level, the non-implementation of appropriate salary structure, and the non-payment of owed salaries.
“NEC resolved to proceed on an indefinite nationwide strike from Monday, September 7, 2020 by 8:00am until the conditions are met.”