By Joseph Ayinde
The federal government has threatened to apply “no work, no pay” rule against the resident doctors, who embarked on an indefinite strike yesterday to protest alleged failure by the federal government to fulfill its obligations to them.
The doctors whose umbrella body, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had earlier met with the federal government team on Wednesday over their grievances, rejected the proposals put forward by the government on how to make up for the shortcomings in the implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between both parties.
Speaking on a live TV programme, the association’s president, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, said the strike commenced at 8 am yesterday.
“The strike commenced 8 am, and we enjoin all resident doctors to start the strike immediately.
“We had a meeting with the minister of labour from 4 pm to about 12 am this morning, but as it stands; we are used to memorandum of understandings for over a decade now, and we insist on the implementation of what we wrote on our strike message. “We’re not just doing this for resident doctors, we’re doing this for all health workers.”
Speaking on the proposals put forward by the federal government, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige said, “12 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 had been put on them, stressing that they would reconvene in one month’s time to look at the assignments given, to know who performed and who has not performed.
THISDAY however gathered that the minister also reminded the doctors of the sensitive nature of their life-saving work and the fact that the government would not hesitate to activate the ‘no work, no pay’ rule should they decide to go ahead and withdraw their services.
But the leadership of NARD denounced the agreement it signed Wednesday, saying they were under intense pressure to agree to the suspension of the strike ultimatum.