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Resident doctors suspend strike in Rivers

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Barely six days after the Rivers State government directed resident doctors under its payroll to suspend their strike or face the no-work-no-pay policy, the doctors called off the strike, yesterday.

The doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) chapter, had aligned with the national body over the industrial action.

But a day after the strike commenced, precisely on August 3, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Tammy Danagogo, in a statement argued that whereas, the association has the right to go on strike, such industrial action should be restricted to their colleagues under the Federal Government.

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He explained that the Rivers State government did not owe salaries, allowances or benefits of resident doctors, adding that it was unacceptable for them to embark on sympathy strike with their counterparts in Federal Government’s employ.

He urged them to call off the action or face ‘no-work-no-pay’ policy, which was earlier applied to the judiciary and parliamentary workers in the state.

Chairman of NARD at RUSTH, Dr. George Ela, in a statement yesterday, said the decision to end the strike followed fruitful engagement with the state government.

“It is a week now since the RSUTH chapter of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) embarked on indefinite strike following resolution at its Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).

“However, it has been seven days of intensive, robust and fruitful engagement with the Rivers State government through the office of the SSG.

“As a result of the engagements, we inform Rivers people that the legislative processes that will accelerate hearing and domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) 2017 has commenced through the office of the Chairman, House Committee on Health in the House of Assembly,” he stated.

He said the state government showed commitment to the welfare needs of the resident doctors such, as implementation of the wage-adjusted CONMESS 2019, payment of the COVID-19 hazards allowance and employment of more resident doctors among others.

“To reciprocate government’s gesture and goodwill and to ameliorate the suffering and pains of Rivers people, therefore, congress resolved that our members should return to the clinics from 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 9, 2021,” he added.

He commended the Wike-led government for the move and thanked Rivers people for their support during the period of the strike.

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