By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Friday in Abuja updated President Muhammadu Buhari on developments regarding the ongoing industrial action by National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ngige was accompanied by Ministers of State Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo as well as Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire .
The NARD had on June 15 commenced an indefinite nationwide strike following the failure of negotiations (between the Federal Government and the association) and expiration of a 14 ultimatum.
Dr Aliyu Sokomba, NARD President, who announced the commencement of the strike, said:
“This followed the virtual extra-ordinary National Executive Council meeting of the association held on Sunday,” he noted.
He stated that exemption of the members attending to COVID-19 patients was for two weeks before they join the industrial action.
He explained that the union took the decision to go on strike as a result of the failed series of meetings between the doctors and the Federal Government in the last two weeks.
However, Ngige told State House correspondents that all the demands of the doctors had been met by the federal government while efforts were on to convince State Governments to do the same as the Health sector is on the concurrent list.
NAN reports that some of the issues according to NARD President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Monday, include non-payment of special allowances for the resident doctors, the deplorable state of hospitals and the lack of protective equipment for members of the union treating COVID-19 patients leading to the death of some doctors in recent times.
The doctors are also asking for universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State Hospitals and ensuring pay parity among doctors of equal cadre, provision of funding of medical residency training in the 2021 appropriation bill, as well as the implementation of the revised hazard and payment of agreed COVID-19 inducement allowances.
It also include immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance and payment of the COVID-19 inducement allowance agreed with the government and healthcare workers three months ago.