Nigeria: Abuja Resident Doctors Begin Strike Sept 1 Over Covid-19 Allowances

Empty maternal care hallway at Asokoro district hospital as a result of the health workers strike in 2018.
31 August 2020

Abuja — Medical doctors in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors, ARD-FCTA, declared Monday that they will begin strike on September 1, over non-payment of COVID-19 hazard and inducement allowance.

They also said non-implementation of the variation of the 2018 promotion exercise amongst other issues were other reasons for the pending industrial action.

The strike action follows the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum earlier given to the FCT Administration over the non-payment of COVID-19 hazard and inducement allowance to health workers in the various FCT Hospitals and the COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres, and other pending issues as contained in the communique submitted to the administration dated 14th August 2020.

A fresh communique issued at the end of its emergency meeting held both virtually and physically and co-signed by President of the Association, Dr Roland Aigbovo and the General Secretary, Dr Mustapha Ibrahim on Monday in Abuja, said the strike would only be called off when the demands of the doctors were met.

While lambasting the insensitivity of the Permanent Secretary's office to the issues under contention, the Resident Doctors expressed dismay over the inability of the FCTA to fulfil its promises within the period of the issued ultimatum.

The communique reads in part: "Due to the insensitivity displayed by the Office of the Permanent Secretary, FCT and widespread agitations among our members in the various FCT Hospitals and isolation/treatment centres, we sadly regret to notify the administration and by extension, the general public that the association would embark on an indefinite strike action with effect from 8 am, 1st September 2020 until the payment of the COVID-19 hazard and inducement allowance is received and the variation of the 2018 promotion exercise implemented.

"We regret any inconveniences this might cause the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the general public needing healthcare delivery during this period.

"We implore the FCT Administration to also look into the other myriads of problems raised in our earlier communication to the administration dated 14th August 2020 with a view to resolving all pending issues so as to maintain industrial harmony.

"The other pending issues include: Non-payment of promotion arrears of 2016, 2017 and 2018 promotion exercise, non-payment of rural allowances, non-remittance of 3rd party deductions; (pensions, National Housing Fund and Association Dues), non-payment of outstanding 1st 28 days allowance, non-payment of the balance of skipping arrears.

"As an association, we believe in dialogue as a means of dispute resolution and we have always stood by this principle in all our dealings with the FCTA management even in the face of financial burden but we note with dismay the carefree approach exhibited by the office of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory in handling this issue.

"The congress observes with enthusiasm, the magnanimity and goodwill of the Honourable Minister in addressing the welfare of staffs of the administration and look forward to cementing an already very promising harmonious working relationship."

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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