Resident doctors: Reason for suspending strike

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The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Monday suspended its 64-day strike, which began August 2, 2021.

The association said its National Executive Council (NEC) considered certain issues before suspending the strike.

NARD said these included the little progress the association members saw in the implementation of some of its minimum demands, and the change of position on the part of the government on some critical issues.

It gave the Federal Government a six-week window to fulfill its demands, after which it would call a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to review the progress made.

Some of NARD’s minimum demands are: the payment of its Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), dropping of the court case the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment filed against its members and payment of outstanding salaries to its members on GIFMIS platform.

It also sought withdrawal of the circular by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF) removing House Officers from the scheme of service, payment of death-in-service benefits to its members who lost their lives in the line of duty during the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. NARD President, Dr. Dare Ishaya, who confirmed this to The Nation yesterday, stressed that its members would resume work tomorrow by 8 a.m.

READ ALSO: Resident Doctors: Agree To Return To Negotiation Table, Sign MoU With FG

Ishaya said: “We had a very lengthy meeting but eventually we made some resolutions and took some positions which led to the suspension of the strike for us to resume work on Wednesday, October 6 at 8 a.m.

“We got to a position of impasse in some of the minimum demands, like the migration to GIFMIS. The government actually migrated tools that we are on the GIFMIS platform to the IPPIS platform. But they have arrears to be paid and those arrears cannot be paid until we discuss receiving salaries on the IPPIS platform they were enrolled into. They have to be placed on a payroll before their arrears can be pushed into their account.

“The government position has been that since we are on strike, they would not pay us any remuneration. That stalled the progress of getting the arrears. The medical residency training fund was another point we were having resistance from the government on. They insisted that it was also the remuneration, and that they could not give us remuneration while we were still on strike. We later agreed that it wasn’t actually part of our salaries.

“So, we demanded that it should be paid. Last Thursday, the government showed the willingness to move from their position and started paying some of our members. “We looked at it and thought that there was some progress being made. The other minimum demand was the withdrawal of the court case. We have an agreement with them that as soon as we return to work, they should withdraw it.

“Those agreements were entered into and we looked at it and felt there was progress. So, we can actually suspend, follow up and see how the government implements these new positions that they have started implementing so that we can move forward.

“The payment of August and September salaries due to the ‘no work, no pay’ rule, and the payment of in-service benefits to our members that lost their lives during COVID-19 is a part of our demands.

“We also had some needs in these because their position was that they could not pay any money to anybody as long as we on strike. These are things that I have had to follow up this morning (yesterday) to see that it has been implemented”

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