Residents of Lagos state may have to prepare for another medical doctors’ strike unless government takes a decisive action to avoid it as doctors are already disturbed over unpaid outstanding salaries which accumulated as a result of past strikes.
The doctors under the sponsorship of Medical Guild have been mounting pressures on notable citizens in the state to plead with the government to reverse the ‘No work, No pay’ policy which they said “have been selectively applied only to health workers in the state while other public officers who went on similar strikes in the past were not denied their pay”.
Daily Independent reports that the doctors who have been meeting among themselves and taking their pleas to notable citizens including members of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s cabinet have also been drumming up support to ensure the governor orders the reversal of the policy which they described as “discriminative”.
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At one of the meetings held over the weekend, the Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Biyi Kufo, catalogued some of the moves made by the hierarchy of the doctors to canvass for the payment of outstanding salaries from April, May 2012 and August, September 2014.
Kufo said: “The present officers’ committee of the Medical Guild at its courtesy visit to the Health Service Commission and Head of Service in December 2013 and January 2014 respectively, emphasized the need for the withheld 2012 salaries to be paid considering the fact that other workers or group of workers who have embarked on strike after May 2012 have had their salaries paid fully, all to no avail”.
He noted that it was while the meetings to resolve these outstanding payments were on, that the Nigerian Medical Association embarked on a nationwide strike in July and called it off on August 24 with its members equally participating.
“The news of government again withholding our August salaries filtered to us on August 28 and on September 1 we wrote the Commissioner for Health on the issue but nothing happened until September 18 when the delegation of medical elders visited the Commissioner who said, it was beyond him but would discuss with the Governor.
“However by end of September, our salaries were withheld for the second month bringing our outstanding salary arrears to three months and three days in all,” Kufo lamented.
He added that, what has perhaps sealed any hope of getting the arrears paid was received through a letter dated October 16 “in which Lagos State government told us to forget the unpaid salaries and double efforts towards ensuring the delivery of effective and equitable healthcare services to Lagosians.”
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) on Monday resolved to lend its support to the decision of thousands of workers in the Ministry of Defence to embark on strike over welfare issues for its civilian employees.