The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has asked its members to prepare for an indefinite nationwide strike to begin from March 31, 2021.
NARD is the largest union of doctors in the public sector and its members have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 response.
It should be recalled that the union had embarked on strike in June and September 2020 due to unpaid allowances and poor working conditions.
In a new internal memo dated March 18, 2021, titled, ‘Impending Strike Action’ which was jointly signed by the President of NARD, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi and Secretary-General, Dr. Jerry Isogun, doctors were asked to prepare financially and mentally for the industrial action.
The strike, according to the notice, is based on the failure of the government to implement certain agreements.
The memo with reference number, NARD/SG/2020-2021/180321/376 stated that the strike would be total and indefinite.
It read in part, “Recall that at our last ENEC, it was resolved that a two-week timeline for the government to expedite actions on issues brought to it. You would also recall that the January NEC gave an ultimatum that will elapse on March 31, 2021, for all pending issues to be addressed.
“In the light of the above, we ask that all members should be sensitised and encouraged to prepare to prepare mentally, socially and financially for a strike action that will commence on March 31 indefinitely.”
It was gathered from a reliable source that the Federal Government was still paying a paltry N5,000 as hazard allowance to medical doctors.
The NARD President further stated that the Chairman, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Prof. Abba Hassan, had withheld funds meant for doctors.
The source added that, “A year ago, we told them to pay the insurance for members we lost. The Federal Government said they had done everything. After a year, none of the members has received insurance claims.
“We are still being paid N5,000 hazard allowances while National Assembly members take over N1.2m monthly for hardship allowance.”
“the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment had also failed to attend to their plight and even cancelled an important meeting where pressing issues were supposed to have been discussed”.
“On February 26, we were to meet with the ministry of labour only to be told a day earlier that the meeting had been postponed and till today nothing. Enough is enough. They can go ahead to implement no work, no pay. We will make the health sector ungovernable for them,” he said.