Worried by the alleged failure of the Federal Government to meet its demand, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Monday declared a five-day warning strike.
Reliable reports have it that the industrial action will commence on Wednesday, May 17, and end on Monday, May 22.
The decision to down tool was taken after the doctors’ extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held virtually on Monday.
President of NARD, Dr Emeka Orji, confirmed the incident to Channels Television via a WhatsApp message.
He, however, promised to make a press conference on Tuesday, May 16, saying a press statement will be made available to journalists also.
The resident doctors have been at loggerheads with the Federal Government over poor remuneration, and better welfare for their members among other concerns.
They are demanding an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to the tune of 200 per cent of the current gross salary of doctors and the new allowances included in the letter written by the association to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on July 7, 2022, on the review of CONMESS.
On April 29, the association issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement the agreements or face industrial action.
But reacting to the planned industrial action by the aggrieved resident doctors, the Federal Government described the move as unnecessary.
Briefing journalists in Abuja after a special Federal Executive Council meeting, the Labour Minister, Dr Chris Ngige said the parent body of the association – the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) – is already engaging with relevant government agencies on the issue.
“On the demand for 200 per cent salary increase, the NMA is the father of all doctors in Nigeria and they have about four or five affiliates of which the resident doctors is an association affiliating there,” he stated.
“You have the Medical and Dental Consultants Association (MEDIAN), they are the consultants who are training these medical doctors to become specialists. You also have a general medical practitioners association and you also have doctors working in the private sector.
“So, NMA is the father of all including me. So, NMA is discussing with the Federal Ministry of Health, salaries income and wages commission, and the Ministry of Labour and we know that NMA has accepted a salary increase between 25 and 30 per cent across the board for their members.
“So, I don’t know the logic by which people who are members of NMA are now coming up to say pay us 200 per cent increase. I don’t understand it.
“I have called the NMA President to contact them because, on the issue of remuneration negotiation, it’s NMA that the government deals with. So, I have told the President of NMA to contact them, and we will engage them. They should not go on any strike, it’s not necessary.”