Rivers State Government has disclosed that should resident doctors under its employment fail to resume their duty post immediately and call off its industrial action, it would be left with no choice but to implement the ‘no work, no pay’ rule for the striking health officials.
It explained that while the state’s chapter of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has the right to protest irregularities in payment of their salaries by the Federal Government, there were no reasons for doctors under direct employment of the state government who are not owed to embark on strike.
Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, said that it was surprising that the industrial action expected to be restricted to NARD with respect to irregularities in the payment of salaries of house officers by the apex government has extended to doctors under Rivers payroll.
According to him, whereas the NARD has a right to go on strike, we expect that such should be restricted to Resident Doctors that are directly under the payroll of the Federal Government, particularly as the Rivers State Government does not owe salaries or benefits to resident doctors in the State.
Through a statement on Tuesday, Danogogo directed all the affected resident doctors to call off the ongoing strike, return to work within 24hrs, or forfeit their salaries and risk being sacked.
“We are therefore unable to decipher why Resident Doctors in the State will embark on sympathy strike with their counterparts in the employment of the Federal Government.
“To this end, the Rivers State Government having reaffirmed its position with respect to the above, will not tolerate further strike actions by Resident Doctors in Rivers State and will be compelled to invoke the “No Work, No Pay” rule on striking house Officers,” the statement read in parts.
The Guild had earlier reported that NARD members embarked on indefinite industrial action following dearths of manpower, unpaid allowances, and other alleged unresolved grievances put forward by resident doctors in Nigerian public hospitals.
The indefinite strike by the doctors which began yesterday amid rising coronavirus infections in Africa’s most populous country was hinged on delayed payment of salaries and allowances on part of the government, among other issues.
Nigerian doctors frequently strike over what they alleged to be poor conditions of service. Last year, they walked out from their jobs three times, including over demands for an allowance for treating coronavirus patients.