Apr 9 2012
By Wole Oyebade and Tunde Akinola
Like it was the case about two years ago, the warning strike is a prelude to an indefinite one. The doctors between August and November 2010, February and April 2011, paralysed healthcare services in Lagos public hospitals over issue not unconnected with salary and emoluments.
The doctors under the aegis of Medical Guild told reporters at the weekend that the state government had failed to implement the downward review of excessive taxation and Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) approved for them in March 2011 before they suspended the 2011 strike.
Chairman of the Guild, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, said a year after the agreement, “the state government has refused to implement CONMESS. And rather than a downward review of the excessive taxation, in October 2011 the monthly tax paid by doctors was increased and has continued till now.”
The association, according to Odusote, had in the last 13 months held several meetings with the government, presented various documents and wrote letters of appeal to resolve the outstanding issues.
“All our entreaties, done so that the third party (our patients) will not suffer, had failed as the government has been reneging on its promises and shifting timelines for implementation of the government,” he said.
The Guild at its ordinary meeting on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 resolved to embark on a three-day warning strike to press home their demands beginning from Wednesday, April 11 to 13, 2012.
“During this period, all services will be withdrawn by our members. If at the end of the month, the government still refuses to implement CONMESS and review the tax downwards, we will be left with no option than to resume the indefinite strike that we suspended last year,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised Fashola not to neglect the “just demands” of the doctors to avert another strike in the health sector.
In a statement signed by the Lagos PDP Publicity Secretary, Taofik Gani, on behalf of the party’s chairman, Tunji Shelle, the party noted that the last “avoidable” strike, which lasted for over six months caused a colossal loss of lives in the state.
Shelle said: “This government should prioritise its duties and identify with the people in its policies. A pragmatic government should not wait until its workers embark on strike before it can do the needed things. This impending strike must be nipped in the bud. The legitimate demands of the doctors must be granted without further delay. We warn that if the doctors are allowed to go on strike this time, we shall assist in mobilising the residents to go on the streets until Fashola resigns.”
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