The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has directed its members across the country to embark on a total strike from Monday, August 2.
This directive was issued on Saturday at the end of the executive meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union held in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, NARD National President, Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, disclosed that members have been asked to proceed on a nationwide indefinite industrial action.
“We are embarking on a total and indefinite strike on August 2, 2021. You can recall we had a memorandum of action on March 31, 2021, and had an addendum to it on April 9, and since then, we still have had irregularities in the payment of salaries to the house officers.
“We had issues with them being non-regular payment and as part of the memorandum of action, it was said that they should be captured back into the IPPS platform,” he said.
Uyilawa added, “You are aware that we lost 19 members to COVID-19 and death in service insurance was supposed to be paid to their next of kin.
“The last time we met the minister of labour and minister of health, we were told that our members are part of those to be given the insurance benefit, but we found out that their names are not even their.”
He cited the inability of the Federal Government to meet the demands of the doctors as part of the reasons for the decision to go on strike.
The NARD president, however, apologised to Nigerians for the decision which he insisted was a result of the government’s failure in its responsibilities.
The resolutions reached at the end of the meeting read,
After critical appraisal of the performance of both Federal and State Governments on all the issues affecting the welfare of our members as observed above and the insincerity of government in implementing the memorandum of action after One Hundred and Thirteen (113) days, the NEC unanimously resolved by vote to resume the total and indefinite
strike action from 08.00hrs Monday 2nd August 2021.
The NEC in particular demanded the immediate withdrawal of the circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service.
Finally, the NEC stated unequivocally especially to the members of the public that the NARD is committed to the smooth running of the health sector; however, can only do so when our welfare is given the desired attention.
The doctors had embarked on industrial action in April, leaving many patients unattended across various government-owned hospitals in the country.
They later suspended it 10 days later following a virtual meeting with members which lasted about 15 hours on April 10.
Some of the issues raised by the medical practitioners as of then included 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.
They also sought an upward review of the 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.
The doctors called for the abolishment of the exorbitant bench fees being paid by their members on outside postings in all training institutions across the country.