Nigeria: Again, Nigerian Doctors Threaten Strike Over Unpaid Salaries, Poor Welfare

The doctors said the federal government and state governments have failed to honor agreements made in the past.

Doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Physicians (NARD) again threatened to start the strike if the Nigerian government did not meet their demands.

The development is contained in a statement released after the NARD National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held from July 25-30 in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

The statement was signed by the president of the association, Godiya Ishaya.

Doctors said the federal and state governments have breached agreements with doctors in the past.

He said four states – Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe – owe their doctors 10, five, three and two months of salaries and other arrears respectively.

“The NEC must, upon the expiration of the two-week ultimatum, reconvene to review the progress made so far and take further action where industrial harmony nationwide cannot be guaranteed. “, the doctors said in their statement.

Other requests

Doctors demand, among other things, the immediate implementation and payment of the new risk premium and arrears.

NARD said some arrears for 2014, 2015 and 2016 remained unpaid despite several negotiations with the government.

Doctors noted that since the introduction of a new minimum wage in 2019, some of their members are still not benefiting from the consequential adjustment.

“The NEC is demanding immediate payment of the consequential minimum wage adjustment to our members who have been deprived of this benefit since it was put in place several years ago.”

Doctors are also calling for an immediate review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and other related allowances given the current economic situation in the country.

The doctors said this is also in line with the agreed terms of the previous collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that it will be reviewed regularly.

NARD noted that the Abia State government has made little progress in implementing the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA 2007) and paying 26 months of salaries due to resident doctors in Abia State Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH).

He called on the state government to honor the latest agreement to pay seven months salary arrears within one week in first instance, and two months monthly salary arrears to its members until arrears are cleared.

Health sector activities

The association called on the government to increase the allocation to the health sector to 15 percent of the national budget, as agreed by heads of state of African countries.

Doctors called for measures to be taken to reduce the brain drain in the health sector and find ways to eliminate all bureaucratic bottlenecks in the employment and replacement of doctors leaving the country for pastures greener.

NARD also condemned attacks on its members by the public and, thus, on other healthcare professionals in their workplaces.

He urged the government at all levels to look into the matter and thoroughly investigate the ongoing cases.

He also called for measures to be put in place to nip this threat in the bud to prevent future occurrences, noting that “these inhumane acts have affected its members both physically and mentally.”

One of many strikes

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the latest strike launched by doctors left patients stranded in various health facilities.

In 2020 alone, doctors went on strike three times demanding compensation for treat COVID-19 patients and an increase in base salary.

They cited several reasons, including delays in the payment of their salaries and allowances.