The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) says it may suspend its ongoing nationwide strike if it gets evidence of payment of salary arrears.
This followed a meeting between the leadership of NARD and representatives of the Federal Government which started on Wednesday and ended in the early hours of Thursday the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.
According to a statement issued after the meeting, which lasted for over eight hours, the Federal Government team, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, promised to make efforts toward the payment of arrears owed health workers.
“The Federal Government will appeal to state governments and organisations that owe salary shortfalls/emoluments to health workers to make genuine efforts to liquidate these arrears in the spirit of revamping the health care system in the country,” the statement said.
“The meeting agreed that NARD national officers are to present the outcome of the renegotiated Memorandum of Terms of Settlement to an emergency meeting of its members by Friday, September 8, 2017, with a view to suspending the strike once there is evidence of payment of the mandate as presented to the meeting, to the affected Institutions.”
NARD declared a nationwide industrial action on Monday, September 4, for government’s failure to pay their salary shortfall of 2016 and January to May 2017, as well as failure to rectify the salary shortfall from August 2017.
The doctors are also demanding the inclusion of their members on the Integrated Personnel Payment Information System (IPPIS).
They also said government has failed to budget, deduct and remit both the employer and employees’ contributions for their pension to their retirement savings account since 2013.
Other key issues listed by the striking doctors were the failure to circularise house officers’ entry point, failure to correct the stagnation of promotion of NARD members and properly place them on their appropriate grade level.
Should they call off the strike after receiving evidence of payment, the doctors are asking that no NARD member should be victimised.
According to the statement, the Federal Government assured the doctors that none of their members would be victimised.
The conciliation meeting was, however, adjourned to reconvene on Thursday, November 2, 2017.
The meeting had in attendance the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, and the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Professor Stephen Ocheni.
The striking doctors were also represented at the meeting by NARD President, Dr Onyebueze John, and President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Professor Mike Ogirima, among others.
Source: channel TV