The President Bola Tinubu-led federal government has issued a directive to the chief medical directors and medical directors in the federal tertiary hospitals to implement the “no work, no pay” policy on the striking members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
The federal government also directed the hospitals to maintain an attendance register for all resident doctors willing to work.
The directive was issued by the Federal Ministry of Health and addressed to the CMDs and MDs of all FTHs in the country.
The letter, dated August 1, 2023, was titled, “Re: Incessant strike action by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors: Implementation of ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy of the Federal Government,” was signed by the Director of Hospital Services, Dr Andrew Noah.
NARD embarked on an indefinite strike on July 26, 2023, to press home its demands.
The strike followed the expiration of a two-week ultimatum to the government to meet its demands.
The doctors are demanding the implementation of the one-for-one replacement policy for healthcare workers; the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to discontinue the downgrading of the membership certificate issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical Colleges; the immediate payment of all salary arrears; the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure; a new hazard allowance; and the domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act; among others.
The government, in the letter, accused the striking of being insensitive.
The letter reads in parts:
“The various conciliatory meetings by the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment with government stakeholders, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and the National Assembly have proved abortive.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federal Ministry of Health has instituted the policy of ‘No work, No Pay’ against the striking resident doctors in line with circular Ref. No.58598/8.1/II/182 dated June 22, 2016.
“I am further directed to request you to maintain an attendance register for all residents willing to work and furnish the ministry of such name on a monthly basis,” the letter read in part.
Reacting, the secretary general of NARD, Dr Kelechi Chikezie, said the directive was not unexpected.
“We have seen the letter and we will meet as leaders of NARD to take a position on that,” Chimezie told Punch.
“But that policy is not new to us, and we would not say we were not expecting it. However, the position of NARD will meet and take a position on it,” he added.