- Nigerian Doctors have threaten to embark on an indefinite strike on Wednesday if the Federal Government fails to meet the proposed demands by workers. The union had given the government the 4 June 2009 deadline, but with pleas from the government the deadline was extended by 28 days.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) which has had a bitter row with the government over better pay and improved conditions of service for doctors in the Federal Service.
The main request by the doctors was the adoption and implementation of a Medical Service Scale (MSS) for doctors in government employment.
The NMA National Secretary Dr Kenneth Okoro confirmed that doctors are ready to withdraw their services if the government does not address the organisation’s grievances. “If the government will not meet our demands by 15 July, we will meet to decide on the next step. I can tell you the threat of withdrawal of services is real," he said.
Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin has pleaded with the doctors not to go on strike because there will be needless loss of lives. He said the situation could be avoided if the doctors can delay the call for immediate implementation of their pay package by another two months maximum.
He said there is no disagreement or dispute between the government and the doctors. “Indeed, there is already a signed agreement, wherein the government has acceded to their demands,” he said.
Meanwhile, the two health workers’ unions in the country have given notice of a nationwide strike commencing tomorrow, to protest alleged downgrading of their members by the Federal Ministry of Health.
The Ministry had, in a circular dated 8 June 2009, directed that certain officers in the ministry be downgraded. But the organisations said it lies outside of the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry to interfere in the grading and placement of workers.
The unions decry the delay by some hospitals in the conduct of the 2008/2009 promotion exercise and demand that it be conducted forthwith.
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