Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), have resolved to suspend their two months old industrial action.
At their emergency National Executive Council meeting, held in Abuja on Sunday, NARD resolved to go back to work beginning from 8am this Wednesday.
Earlier, during the meeting, the doctors had a very long debate over how to proceed with the dispute with the government, resulting in a vote.
When the issue of sustaining the strike was put vote, 56 of the NEC members voted in favour of suspending the strike while 28 supported the continuation. Five other members were absent.
The doctors’ strike had almost crippled the country’s health sector.
A reliable source at the meeting told THISDAY last night that the leadership of NARD has been mandated to address the media today (Monday) on the decision to suspend the strike and to give the modalities and new timelines for further engagement with the federal government team.
“NARD decided after detailed assessment of its engagement with the federal government, to suspend the strike embarked upon on August 2, 2021. Majority of the NEC members voted in support of the suspension of the industrial action and to give the government another chance to redeem its promises with regards to the implementation of Memoradum of Understanding with the doctors,” he said.
The Resident doctors had gone strike to demand the implementation of the Memoradum of Agreement they reached with federal government and to protest the alleged non-payment of arrears of salaries and allowances to some of their members.
The doctors also sought the immediate release of their residency training fund and for the placement of their members in the appropriate salary structure.
After series of negotiations failed to resolve the dispute, the federal government took the matter to the National Industrial Court for resolution.
However, NARD had come under pressure from several quarters to suspend the prolonged strike action, which has had a biting effect on Nigerians.
Among those who mounted pressure on the Resident doctors to suspend their action was the parent body, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
NMA, when it led the new national executive of NARD on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, had said the continuation of the strike was no longer necessary.
“We cannot pretend that all is well. We had to look at some of the things that have unraveled since 2nd August. As you know, I’m a man of peace and my leadership is for peace. And we really want to resolve this once and for all, so we can move on. Nigerians are suffering and we can’t allow it to continue,” he said.