The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Ogun has threatened to embark on strike from Sept. 20, over what it described as inappropriate pay and short-changing of medical doctors in public hospitals.
The State Chairman, Dr Ogunlaja Oladayo told journalists on Monday at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, that the state government had failed to negotiate with the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) which suspended its strike on Sept. 7.
The resident doctors at the teaching hospital had suspended their strike to allow for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with government on the agitations for regularisation of pay and other welfare demands.
According to the association, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo brokered the peace between it and the government and promised that the MoU would be produced within two weeks.
Meanwhile, the NMA chairman while speaking on the development, expressed concerns that the government had failed to begin any discussion with the doctors one week after the strike was suspended.
Oladayo said that the doctors would fully resume the industrial action as scheduled, if the state government failed to commit itself on the payment of the appropriate remuneration.
According to him, the inappropriate remuneration affects all medical doctors in the employ of the state and not only the resident doctors.
Oladayo explained that less than N35 million was required monthly to effect payment of the appropriate remuneration for “about 600 doctors employed by the state.”
He, however, ruled out allegations that the strike was politically motivated, saying the agitation had been ongoing, but government remained adamant.
“All the doctors in Ogun are actually agitated over this same problem; we are waiting for the government to start meaningful discussions on this.
“If the government does not resolve this issue by the 20th September, 2020, ARD in OOUTH and their senior consultants will resume this industrial action.
“And after their resumption, let me say categorically, that NMA which I’m representing, cannot guarantee that all doctors in Ogun will be at work,” Oladayo said.
Reacting to the development, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Communication, Remmy Hazzan, promised that the government would engage the doctors” this week” with a view to addressing the agitations.
“I am confident that the interface that necessitated the suspension in the first place is not taken for granted. I’m also not unaware of the agitation of the national bodies of the unions.
“What they are asking for which is a further discussion with state government will definitely happen this week.
“I’m not unaware of the pressure many of them are getting from the national bodies. As a government, we understand that but we are very much responsible and true to our words.
“We are the ones asking that they come to the table, if they say they are willing, I don’t see any reason why we should renege on our intention to be at the table.
“So, reminding us that we need to be at the table is like stating the obvious. Definitely that discussion will happen this week and this time it’s going to be definite; there will be result and everyone will move on from there,” he said.