The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), an umbrella union of Nigerian physicians, has declared preparations to launch a five-day warning strike if the Nigerian government does not comply with their requests.
Dr. Emeka Innocent Orji, the association’s president, made this announcement on Monday on the results of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.
The warning strike, according to Mr. Innocent, will begin on Wednesday, May 17 at 8 a.m. and terminate on Monday, May 22 at 8 a.m.
The Federal Government was given a two-week deadline by NARD on April 29, 2023, to comply with its demands or suffer industrial unrest. This deadline expired on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
Orji claimed that in spite of the administration being given an ultimatum that concluded on May 13, the government refused to discuss the requests of the physicians.
The doctors under the association are asking for an immediate raise in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure equal to 200% of the doctors’ existing gross earnings.
They also demand the immediate removal of the measure that would require graduates of the medical and dentistry fields to perform five years of mandatory service in Nigeria before receiving full licenses to practice.
According to the NARD president, the organization disapproves of the government’s willful reluctance to pay its members’ salary arrears from 2014, 2015, and 2016 as well as the arrears from the minimum wage’s ensuing modifications.
He said that many state governors have failed to domesticate the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA), implement the proper CONMESS framework, or enhance the hazard allowance provided to NARD members.
However, the requests made by the physicians were deemed “absurd” by Chris Ngige, Minister of Labor and Employment. Mr. Ngige said that the resident physicians had “entitlement syndrome” and insisted that the federal government has taken tremendous measures “to give them everything they want.”
“We have been managing their matter and have given them everything they want, including the residency training programme funds, we are paying them, even when in training, we pay them a full salary, pay them all the allowances and you decided that we have not done enough,” he said.