Doctors Issue 21-day Strike Ultimatum over Review of CONMESS Salary Scale

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has given the federal government 21-day ultimatum to address issues bordering on the welfare and safety of their members or risk a nationwide industrial action.

The threat was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of an extraordinary National Executive Council Meeting of MDCAN held virtually on Monday, 7th August 2023.

Among the issues being raised by the doctors were the non-implementation of agreed upward review of CONMESS and the introduction of Accoutrement allowance with the Nigerian Medical Association, recent upward review of CONMESS which they said did not take into consideration the consequences of the fuel subsidy removal and the exponential inflation that came with it and the correction of the shortfalls in remuneration for Clinical Lecturers (Honorary Consultants).

Other issues raised by the doctors included the non-universal implementation of CONMESS for all medical and dental doctors irrespective of the agencies of the government they were working with, and failure of the government to appreciate the magnitude of the impacts of brain drain in the health sector, as exhibited by the refusal of the National Council on Establishment (NCE) to approve the Federal Ministry of Health’s proposal on upward review of the age of retirement for the medical and dental consultants and other health workers.

MDCAN also complained about the failure of government to resolve the ongoing disputes with the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) and its attendant impacts on access to health care by Nigerians.

In addition, MDCAN expressed concern over the kidnapping of its members, saying the situation has remained unabated with some of them remaining in captivity for more than three weeks.

The doctors further demanded the immediate review of the newly revised CONMESS circular and issuance of a new circular that would reflect the agreed percentage on both the basic salary and other allowances, apart from hazard allowance. 

In the communiqué signed by the President, MDCAN, Victor Makanjuola and Secretary General Yemi Raji, the doctors warned that they would, “not guarantee the present relative industrial harmony within the government hospitals and our medical schools if the issues were not satisfactory resolved within the next 21 days,” saying they may be forced to embark on industrial action.

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