Fuel subsidy: Doctors want 550 per cent salary increase, threaten strike July 19
Doctors under the aegis of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have reviewed their demand for salary increase from 200 to 550 per cent, to cushion negative impact of fuel subsidy removal.
The doctors, in a resolution reached at the end of their virtual National Executive Council meeting, Wednesday night, expressed disappointment over government’s inability to review, upwardly, the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), in line with their letter to the Minister of Health, dated July 7, 2022.
In a communiqué, jointly signed by President, Dr. Emeka Orji; Secretary-General, Dr. Kelechi Chikezie, and Publicity and Social Secretary, Dr. Umar Musa, the doctors said: “The parameters we used in arriving at demand for a minimum of 200 per cent increase in CONMESS has significantly changed, following removal of fuel subsidy and attendant massive increase in fuel price and general cost of living.
“Using current parameters, an upward review, to the tune of 550 per cent, is required. Our members now find it difficult to transport themselves to work and carry out other responsibilities required of them as medical doctors because of these factors.”
The doctors observed, disappointedly, that seven weeks have passed, since the end of a five-day warning strike they embarked upon to press home demands.
They added that resolutions from a conciliatory meeting chaired by the then Minister of Labour and Employment were yet to be implemented, seven weeks after, despite set timelines.
The doctors, nevertheless, further extended the expired ultimatum issued government by two weeks, beginning Wednesday, July 5, 2023.
They emphasised that at expiration of the ultimatum on July 19, 2023, industrial harmony in the health sector may not be guaranteed, if all demands are not met.
The demands include: immediate payment of 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) as contained in the 2023 budget, in line with various agreements reached.
They called on government to pay all outstanding arrears owed members, including hazard allowance; skipping arrears of 2014-2016; and arrears of consequential adjustment of minimum wage.
They also demanded immediate release and implementation of guidelines on one-for-one replacement of clinical staff, to cushion the effect of manpower shortage in hospitals nationwide.