Resident doctors commence indefinite strike over unpaid salaries

THE National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), on Monday, embarked on indefinite industrial action to press home their demand for the payment of salary arrears owed their members.

Making this disclosure while addressing a press conference in Osogbo, capital of Osun State, the president, Association of Residents Doctors (ARD), Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital chapter (OAUTHC), Dr Wole Ayegbusi, said the strike had become inevitable over the indifferent posture of the Federal Government to their plight.

He lamented that some of their members in the state teaching hospitals were being owed 10 months salaries, while those in the federal government teaching hospitals had their last salaries in December, 2015.

Ayegbusi, who hinted that efforts have been made by NARD to dialogue with the Federal Ministry of Health on several occasions, regarding the unpaid salaries, regretted that such dialogues have failed to yield positive result.

According to him, “the most saddening part of it is that our members in the state teaching hospital have not been paid for 10 months and there are some of the members that are rendering essential services. We need to realise that, we cannot be comparing doctors to other civil servants because if they (civil servants) fall sick and doctors are not well paid, they will never be well attended to.

“You will be surprised that today, some federal teaching hospitals have not paid December salaries, which is unfair because it affects our productivity. Also, some of our members have been sacked for an unjust cause and several times we have made efforts to dialogue with the Federal Ministry of Health but maybe due to their selfish or unjustifiable reason, we have not been able to actualise that. Most of the community people are poor and they cannot travel abroad to get treatment,” Ayegbusi asserted.

He continued, “We want this strike to end as soon as possible because it is an avoidable one. I can see no reason why the Federal Government cannot answer our prayers. When President Muhammadu Buhari came to office, he promised to fulfil all the agreements we have had with the government before he assumed office but nothing was done even after the ultimatum we gave.”