Federal Government, resident doctors sign agreement to avert indefinite strike


The Federal Government and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), have signed an agreement to avert the indefinite strike schedule to begin today.

The parley was expected to fix timelines for the implementation of the proposals and demands put forward by the doctors who had threatened to embark on indefinite strike from Thursday (today).

Among other things, the union was demanding the immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers including March salaries (regardless of quota system) before the end of business on March 31, 2021; payment of all salary arrears including March salaries for NARD members in all Federal and State tertiary health institutions across the country and upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance, especially in state owned-tertiary institutions.

Speaking shortly before going into a closed-door session, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, said the Federal Government and the resident doctors were working closely with regards to the demands of the doctors.

Briefing journalists on the outcome, Ngige assured that all the things written in the MOA will be implemented.

He said, “Twelve hours is a lot of time. Everybody will be working. Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) will be working. And hopefully by tomorrow, you will experience the payment as agreed here for the second category of doctors (an overflow of the MDCN quota). We hope it must happen tomorrow and continue.

“So, by the time the chairman of the CMDs comes up with his final list and harmonise it with MDCN, we won’t have issue anymore over this payment or whether some doctors have not been paid.”

With regards to other issues raised by the doctors at the meeting, Ngige explained that timelines have been put on them, the reason why they were going to reconvene in one month’s time to look at the assignments given, to know who performed and who has not performed.

“And with this MOA, we hope you get to your members to let them understand better that government has moved proactively to address most of the issues ahead of your coming.”

According to the Minister, in labour parlance, what the government side has done means that they have arrested the impending industrial dispute of the doctors and the issues in contention, being addressed.

“We are happy that you understand. So, I give you assurance that most of the things written here will be done. We will assist the Federal Ministry of Health (FMH), Finance Ministry and Office of Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) to make sure that they keep to their own side of the bargain.

“The MOA says that you will talk to your people and we hope that when you come to collect your own copy tomorrow, you can tell the nation that you people are not strike mongers and that you are happy with the decisions taken so far.”

Others from the Government at the meeting include the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi, his Labour and Employment counterpart, Peter Yerima Tarfa, representatives of the OAGF, MDCN and the National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission.


MTO/The Sun

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