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Resident doctors suspend proposed strike action as negotiations continue with govt



The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) announced that it has postponed its planned strike and would instead focus on advancing its goals in talks with the Federal Government and other parties.

The guarantee was provided on Thursday during a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by the association’s president, Dr. Dare Ishaya.

Ishaya claims that the choice was made on Wednesday during an extended National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the association.

“When we examined those issues yesterday, we discovered that the 2022 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) had been released and the payment was effected on Tuesday.

“Most of our members have already gotten their alert, the issue of the implementation of the new hazard allowance, we also found out that the Ministry of Finance has approved the release of funds for the payment.

“Having critically examined the situation, the NEC resolved that we should step down the ultimatum that was issued to the government and also reaffirm our commitment to continue to deliver adequate and quality health services to the Nigerian populace,” he explained.

Ishaya, however, said that the association’s NEC would continue the ongoing negotiations with all relevant authorities to ensure that the other unresolved issues were sorted out amicably.

“We do not want to plunge the Nigerian masses into unnecessary hardship because the hardship in the country is already enough for them so we felt that we should not add to the inflictions that the Nigerian masses are passing through.

“So the resolution of the emergency NEC meeting is that we should suspend our ultimatum and continue negotiations with the Federal Government until the other contentious issues are conclusively resolved.”

The group had repeatedly demanded that the federal government pay the new Hazard Allowance and any arrears as of December 22, 2021.

The National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) circular with reference number SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406 dated December 22, 2021 contains information about the aforementioned allowance.

READ ALSO: Resident doctors divided after meeting, to take decision on strike

The payment of skipping arrears for the years 2014, 2015, and 2016 to deserving members and the ensuing adjustment of the minimum wage to members who have been denied since it was adopted are other difficulties.

Additionally, the NARD sought a prompt assessment of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and other relevant allowances in accordance with the provisions of the prior Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The Federal Government was given a two-week deadline by NARD in July 2022 to start paying the recently reviewed Medical Residency Training Fund and hazard allowance, among other demands.

If their demands were not satisfied at the conclusion of the two weeks, the group threatened an ongoing strike.

The ultimatum was nonetheless extended on August 21 for an additional two weeks, which concluded on September 5.

They had started a two-month strike in 2021 about the lack of medical equipment at public tertiary hospitals and worker welfare, defying an injunction from the Industrial Court to end it.

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