Moses Emorinken, Abuja
The Abuja Chapter of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD-FCTA) on Tuesday began an indefinite strike to press home their demand for timely and adequate payment of their salaries among other demands.
This industrial action is coming at a very critical time when the federal government just announced a third confirmed case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Lagos.
The ARD-FCTA is the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) chapter of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, comprising of all doctors practicing in the 14 district and general hospitals, department of public health and primary health care development board under the federal capital territory administration (FCTA) excluding the consultants.
The Association’s President, Roland Aigbovo, in a statement, explained that its members were thrown into serious financial distress following the non-payment of salaries as at when due.
According to him: “Our members were thrown into serious financial distress following the non-payment of our salaries as at when due and we waited patiently after the end of year 2019 and new year 2020 celebrations, till third week of February only for us to receive a paltry sum of money as January salary.
“The money received ranges from one-fifth to one-tenth tenths of our salary with the exclusion of the newly employed members who have not been paid for about 5 to 7 months.
“Arising from our first quarter ordinary general meeting which held on the 24th of February, 2020, a 14-day ultimatum was issued to the FCTA management to resolve the following issues: Payment of the balance skipping areas, payments of first 28 days already approved by the Honorable Minister of FCT, payment of 2016, 2017 and 2018 promotion arrears, improvement on the security situation on our hospitals, and provision and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure in our various hospitals.
“The 14- day ultimatum lapsed on Friday 6th of March 2020, and a 7-day extension was granted by the Congress of our Association at an emergency general meeting with inclusion of the payments of February 2020 salary”.
He added: “It will interest you to know that on Friday 13th of March 2020, FCTA began the payment of February 2020 salaries with no third-party deductions like pensions, tax, NHF, association’s dues, cooperative contributions and others likely loans repayment.
“Our newly employed members were paid only one month out of five to seven months and the house officers were paid the two months without the consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage and the arrears.
“An emergency general meeting of our association held yesterday and it was unanimously agreed that until all our demands are met, the indefinite strike action which commenced yesterday 16th of March, 2020 will continue.
“Let me also inform us that other unions in the FCTA are also gearing up for an industrial action probably in the next 48 hours if these demands which are same and not met.
“The FCTA management has laid the blame squarely on the Integrated Personnel And Payroll Information System (IPPIS) at the office of the Accountant-General of the federation.
“The IPPIS platform came to be since 2007 and we expect that all these teething problems should have been resolved by now but it seems to us that there is a calculated attempt at depriving us our actual wage.
“I want to appeal to the honorable minister of the FCT, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello to look into this”.