Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Uncertainty as doctors begin 5-day warning strike

Doctors under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA,
yesterday, withdraw their services from public hospitals across the
The phased warning strike, which is to protest failure of Federal
Government to implement a mutual agreement to meet demands for
impro-ved welfare and other emolu-ments, will be called off in the
first instance after five days.
It is expected to continue after the yuletide season in the second
phase, barring any progressive development on the crisis.
In a telephone interview, the NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele,
said the association was making good its threat, following the
expiration of a 21-day ultimatum issued weeks ago.
Enabulele, who told Van-guard that the planned action for withdrawal
of services was going on as planned, urged Nigerians to disregard
information to the contrary.
He said: "We had a meeting called by the Minister of Labour and this
meeting lasted from 3.30p.m. on Monday till 5a.m. on Tuesday.
"The meeting had in attendance, ministers of Labour and Health;
Chairman, House Committee on Health, and a delegation of the NMA.
"Others included the Permanent Secretary, Labour and Health,
representatives of Salaries & Wages, the Head of Service and Budgets
"The meeting raised a memorandum of understanding, MoU, where the
government side signed a promissory note that they will attend to the
demands by January 6, 2014.
"It was also agreed that if government could meet the minimum demand
of the issues at stake in terms of income, wages and discrepancies in
our salaries and lastly funding of healthcare, we would reconsider.
"If they can reach at least one of the demands, we will reconsider our
stand. But they only came up with the MoU, which was not part of our
agreement with doctors."
Enabulele pointed out that NMA cannot on basis of the MoU decide
whether or not to continue with the strike.
"Only members can take decision because they have once been and
deceived by an MoU," he added.

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