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7 Sep 2017

Why resident doctors’ strike continues despite government overtures

The strike embarked on by resident doctors will continue‎ despite a meeting between them and a federal government delegation, officials have said.

 
The doctors resolved to continue the strike until members of the association review government’s offers.
 
The meeting to broker peace between members of National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, and Federal Government representatives ended in the early hours of Thursday with no definite end in sight as regards the faceoff.
 
The government delegation had the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole and other senior government officials.
 
Resident doctors are doctors practising in secondary and tertiary hospitals as part of their postgraduate studies.
 
After the meeting which lasted for about 12 hours, Mr. Ngige said that the conciliation meeting was convened to address areas of dissatisfaction raised by NARD.
 
He noted that despite the signed Memorandum of Terms of Settlement, NARD proceeded on strike due to distrust of government’s commitment to execute its own end of the agreement.
 
Mr. Ngige said that all demands made by the striking doctors have been deliberated upon and actions are being taken to meet them.
 
He said that members of the association that have been “authenticated by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation,” were expected to receive their payments on or before Friday.
 
Mr. Ngige, however, said that the strike would continue until at least Friday when the doctors are expected to meet to review the newest offer by the government including their demands of payment of salary arrears owed.

He assured the leaders of the association that none of its members will be victimised as a result of the strike if suspended.
 
Another conciliation meeting is expected to reconvene on Thursday, November 2, 2017.
 
Mr. Ngige had earlier slammed the resident doctors for embarking on the strike despite pleas from the federal government.
 
He said that the doctors had breached section 18 of the Trade Dispute Act, which states that ‘once a conciliatory starts between the government and its employee, no party is allowed to take any further action.’
 
Mr. Ngige had added that “he was disappointed that the resident doctors still embarked on strike as threatened,” despite reaching an alleged agreement with them on Thursday, August 31.
 
The leaders and members of NARD refused to make any comment or talk to journalists after the meeting.

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