By: Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
Doctors working under the Lagos State Government have issued a 21-day ultimatum over the alleged non-payment of their four-month salaries.
The doctors have threatened to embark on a full fledged strike if the state government failed to meet their demands.
The letter which convened the notice of the ultimatum to Governor Babatunde Fashola, was dated December 30, 2014.
The doctors, in the letter requested immediate payment of April and May 2012 salaries, as well as August and September salaries.
But the government has insisted that it was not owing the doctors, saying the arrears in question were for the period the doctors embarked on industrial action called by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).
The doctors, however, maintained that the decision to serve the notice was taken at the emergency general meeting of December 29, 2014.
Besides the issue of withheld salaries, the doctors said the state government allegedly continued to employ doctors on casual basis for more than two years and failed to employ resident doctors at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospitals (LASUTH), Ikeja. They claimed the situation threatened to “annihilate medical education and specialist training in the tertiary institution.”
Chairman of the NMA, Lagos State chapter, Dr. Tope Ojo, said the association was aware of alleged victimisation of doctors by the health service commission of Lagos State.
This situation, Ojo said, informed the unanimous resolve that the Medical Guild should withdraw its services after the expiration of the 21-day notice.
“If all issues remain unresolved after one week of expiration of the Medical Guild ultimatum to the Lagos State Government for the withdrawal of service, the NMA Lagos will be compelled to commence withdrawal of service in all institutions in the state,” he stated, adding: “The ‘no-work, no-pay’ rule that was invoked by the state government is untenable, because all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had complied with the general agreement that salaries should be paid to doctors who participated in the NMA strike for peace and further negotiations.”
He alleged that Lagos State doctors were singled out for the ‘no-work, no-pay’ policy of the government as members of the other professional associations, including academic staff unions of Lagos State tertiary institutions, were paid their salaries despite embarking on six months nationwide strike last year.
Federal health workers, including those in Lagos State, under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) are currently on a three-month-old strike which has paralysed federal hospitals and health centres across the country. The strike was called to protest the federal government’s alleged non-implementation of agreements reached with the union on reforms in the health sector.
SOURCE: DAILY TRUST