Chris Ngige, minister of labor and employment, says the strike action embarked on by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is disrespectful to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
As a result of the federal government’s failure to accept their demands, the resident doctors went on a five-day warning strike on Wednesday.
Among the demands are the following: the immediate funding of the 2023 medical residency training fund (MRTF), the immediate increase in the consolidated medical salary structure (CONMESS) to the tune of 200% of the gross salary of doctors, and the immediate development of hospital infrastructure and an allocation of at least 15% of budgetary provisions to health.
One crucial step was the national assembly’s decision to drop the anti-brain drain measure.
Speaking on Wednesday during a Channels Television programme, the minister said the resident doctors disregarded the efforts of the NMA.
“The resident doctors are part of NMA. They are young doctors in training,” he said.
“So if NMA is negotiating on their behalf as the parent body, what these young people (resident doctors) are doing is disrespecting the NMA.
“They are crying wolf when there is none.”
The minister stated on Tuesday that the National Medical Association (NMA) was discussing a wage increase for doctors with the Ministry of Health, the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, and the Presidential Committee on Salaries.
He added that the warning strike action is “unknown to the law” and recommended the doctors to provide time for discussion.
He forewarned that throughout the duration of the warning strike, the health minister will direct teaching hospitals to hire ad hoc staff and pay them using funds intended for the striking doctors.