NARD Strike: Issues in Contention

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…As NARD President, Okhuaihesuyi Gives Update on Efforts to Resolve Doctors’ Strike

…Nigerian Govt Threatens Striking Doctors with ‘NO WORK, NO PAY’

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) commenced an indefinite strike today Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Nigeria’s Health sector is facing further strain after medical practitioners under the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on an industrial action since the first of April to demand better wages and allowances.

The indefinite strike by medical experts commence today has paralyzed medical services at public hospitals in Nigeria, leaving hundreds of patients unattended.

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), an association of Nigerian resident medics gave the federal government an ultimatum to improve the wages and allowances of doctors to avert the indefinite strike.

Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, the head of the association, on Wednesday said the medics would go on strike if their demands are not met.

“The National Executive Council (NEC) has unanimously agreed that NARD should proceed on a total and indefinite strike on April 8, 2021,” he announced after a meeting of the association.

He said the doctors’ demands include settlement of salary arrears, review of hazard allowance to 50%, and payment of death-in-service insurance for all health workers who died from Covid-19 while on duty. Scores of patients said the strike could aggravate their pains and health conditions as medics stopped working today Thursday.

“I was scheduled to see the doctor today at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) after undergoing a series of tests. I am afraid my condition could worsen with the strike,” Bello Adewale, a patient, told Anadolu Agency in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Patients at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) and Federal Medical Center, Gombe in Nigeria’s North-east, said they were not attended by the striking doctors.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Olorunnimbe Mamora told journalists in the capital Abuja the federal government has released about $53 million for death-in-service insurance to health workers.

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ROTA Media watched NARD STRIKE: ISSUES IN CONTENTION aired on NTA Good Morning Nigeria on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 where NTA hosted Minister for Health State Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige, and others. Nigerian government has threatened to invoke the ‘no work, no pay’ rule on resident doctors who embarked on an indefinite strike on Thursday.

The minister of labour, Chris Ngige, issued the threat during conversation on NTA. “I will invite them back, If they become recalcitrant, there are things I can do,” Mr Ngige said.

“There are weapons in the labour laws I will invoke them. There is ‘no work, no pay.”

By Nigerian law, while workers unions are on strike, their members are still entitled to their full salaries. However, the government can choose to implement the ‘no work, no pay’ rule and stop paying the workers’ salaries if it believes the strike is illegal or unjustified. Although it had threatened striking workers with the rule in the past, it was rarely implemented and when done, was often reversed after the strike was called off or suspended.

Issues in Contention: The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) commenced an indefinite strike on Thursday despite meeting with a federal government delegation on Wednesday night.

“We commence strike 8 a.m. today while we are still trying to evaluate the federal government’s offer,” the president of the association, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, informed Journalists on Thursday morning.

The decision was reached after NARD’s extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held last Saturday, according to the president.

He said “the ultimatum given to the federal government to meet the association’s earlier demands expired on March 31, with no significant achievement”.

Doctor’s Demand: The doctors are demanding, amongst other things, payment of all salaries arrears, review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries for all health workers, and payment of the outstanding Covid-19 allowance especially in state-owned tertiary Institutions.

“Immediate payment of all salary arrears including March salaries for our members in all Federal and State Tertiary Health Institutions across the country especially ASUTH, IMSUTH and UNIMEDTH,” the president said.

“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.

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