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Resident Doctors begin indefinite strike in Bayelsa


Joe Raedle/Getty images/afp

Joe Raedle/Getty images/afp

Resident Doctors at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday began an indefinite strike action to protest irregularities in the payment of their salaries. Under the auspices of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), the doctors were said to have resorted to the industrial action as dialogue had failed between them and management of the national health institution.

The President, NARD, FMC Yenagoa branch, Dr. Chukwunonso Okoye, who made the disclosure in an interview on Thursday, said that doctors at the federal medical facility had been receiving only 48 per cent of their salaries for the past four months. Okoye said information at their disposal indicated that it was only at FMC Yenagoa that resident doctors were being owed 52 per cent of their salaries since January 2016.

He said: “We have been having the challenge of being paid only 48 per cent and being owed 52 per cent of our salaries for some months.

“We have tried to be patient with the Federal Government, and to also show understanding but up till this moment, we have not received our pay. We are therefore compelled to withdraw all our services.

“The fact is that it is affecting our members and we do not see how we can continue to show this understanding with the present administration.”

Okoye said the strike would continue indefinitely if their salaries were not paid in full. saying, “We have written to various relevant authorities ranging from the senators representing Bayelsa to the Accountant General of the Federation, Budget and National Planning and the Minister of Health concerning the short payment but nothing has been done about our plight.

“We made personal contacts with these people but nothing was done. We cannot continue to work on an empty stomach.”

Reacting to the development, the spokesman for the FMC Yenagoa, Bernard Akpedi, confirmed that the doctors began their strike on Tuesday.

Akpedi said: “Yes they are on strike. They started on Tuesday. The management has been talking to them and is still talking.

“Management will do what it has been doing, that is reaching out to the authorities in Abuja. Salary payment issue is actually within the purview of the Federal Government. It is no more done by the management. Of course the development involves all the staff, not only doctors alone.”

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