The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if the government fails to meet the demands of its members by the end of January.
The association, in a letter to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, signed by its President, Dr. Emeka Innocent Orji, said it issued an ultimatum to the Federal Government six months ago, on account of lingering unresolved issues affecting resident doctors in the country.
Titled: “Imminent Nationwide Industrial Disharmony in Health Sector: A matter of urgent administrative importance”, NARD threatened that the processes for the strike would commence if the issues were not addressed before its January 2023 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting slated for January 24 to 28.
The letter reads in part: “Recall Sir, that NARD issued an ultimatum to the Federal Government six months ago on account of lingering unresolved issues affecting our members, including the irregularities in the new circular on upward review of the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) and outstanding payment of the arrears of the new hazard allowance.
“Nonpayment of the skipping arrears for 2014, 2015 and 2016, nonpayment of the consequential adjustment of minimum wage to some of our members, delay in the upward review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), salary arrears of our members in State Tertiary Health Institutions running into several months, including Abia, Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe States, and non-domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) in most states across the Federation.”
“We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the government through its ministries, departments and agencies in resolving some of the issues raised.
“However, many of them remain largely unresolved and have now become sources of serious nationwide agitation threatening industrial peace and harmony in the health sector.
Notable ones amongst them include omitted 2020 MRTF payment, irregularities in the new MRTF circular inconsistent with the Medical Residency Training Act, existing Collective Bargaining Agreements and current economic realities, and review of CONMESS salary Structure.”
The association disclosed that its January 2023 National Executive Council meeting has been scheduled for January 24th to 28th 2023 and that the meeting may be followed by a nationwide strike.
“We can confirm clear feelers that if these issues are not sorted out before that meeting, our members will likely give us mandate to immediately kick-start processes that will lead to a nationwide industrial disharmony in the health sector.
“Sir, we know how critical this period is and the chaos that will ensue if the government does not take steps to prevent this from happening and so we humbly implore you to use your good offices to resolve these issues before our January NEC meeting,” the association said.