#BounceExclusive: 3 Likely Actions Resident Doctors Will Take After 2 Weeks Grace
Residents doctors may have suspended their nationwide strike for two weeks, but it is not over yet.
There are still issues slowing down the pace at which the government attempts to meet its side of the agreements.
Several agreements were reached between the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government, but there were also time-lines given for the government to keep its promise.
Five days have gone since the doctors suspended the strike and said it would reconsider its position after 2 weeks.
Time is ticking and the doctors are still waiting for the government to fulfill its promise to avert the possibility of throwing the health sector into another period of industrial action.
Dr Olusegun Olaopa is the President of the Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He told Bounce News that the doctors had 3 options they would consider at the end of the 2 weeks grace period the union had given to the Federal Government.
1. The doctors may decide to give the government more time, but that will be based on the level of commitment it has shown in keeping its promise that led to the suspension of the strike;
2. They may choose to continue negotiating with the government on the grey areas to ensure that Nigerians still get adequate healthcare services
3. The Resident Doctors can also decide to continue the Industrial action, even though Dr. Olaopa said it was the last option.
The official of NARD stressed that the doctors do not have interest in staying away from work, but feared the government would need to show the doctors its sincerity in keeping its promise in line with the agreements it reached with the union.
He said the government had promised to begin payment of the salaries’ short-fall a day after the last meeting both parties held before the strike was suspended.
"The meeting with the Federal Government ended on Wednesday and they said they will do certain things on Thursday so that we will have our meeting on Friday.
“We went ahead to convoke the meeting even when the government did not meet the Thursday promise it made.
“We also, tactically, put our meeting into recess in a bid to give them more time for them to show evidence of what they had done so that we can show to our members.
“Out of 22 centres that were supposed to get shortfall of their salaries paid, only three people got.
“What we did at the end of the day was to still go into another recess to give them [the government] more time.
“At the moment, out of 22 centres, 13 have received,” he said.
Dr Olaopa, however, expressed fears that delays have been noticed at different level of the process, one of which was the movement of files for the payments to take effect.
“At different offices where documents needed to be approved before payments would begin, delay has been experienced.
“There is a tactical delay of movement of files from one office to another which we have noticed.
“If the issues raised remain where they were before we suspended the strike, there is a tendency that the strike will continue,” he said, expressing regrets that downing tools was never an option for doctors.
Being committed to promises and doing everything possible to make sure time-lines are met is something the government should ensure at a time it has several unions on strike - the highest per time recorded by the current administration since it took over power in 2015.
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