Medical doctors in Lagos State have initiated a strike beginning today, and continuing indefinitely until a resolution on contracted doctors and discriminatory hiring practices is been met with Lagos State government.
The doctors are acting on a resolution they arrived at in during their last Guild meeting, which considered potential response strategies against some State policies negatively affecting them.
In a statement issued from that meeting, the Medical Guild said the Lagos State Government has “refused to reverse the discriminatory policies it applied against the medical doctors.”
Specifically, the statement highlights that medical doctors are employed as contract staff; that the State has discontinued the employment of resident doctors carrying implications of closing down residency training altogether; and a selective application of "no work, no pay" policy discriminating against doctors.
Stressing the "no work, no pay" effect, the Medical Guild said Lagos State is owing its members salaries of two separate months; one for April/May 2012 and the other, September 2014. Both were instances where the medical doctors were forced to picket against Lagos State government.
The September, 2014 strike was called by their national body, the Nigerian Medical Association. Medical doctors throughout Nigeria took part in the strike, but the Lagos State doctors were not compensated for joining the strike. Lagos State Government, citing a new "no work, no pay" policy refused the medical doctors their salaries, making it the second time the doctors said the policy has been selectively applied to them.
The Medical Guild's statement noted, "this position ignored the fact that six other groups that had embarked on strike within the said period, (ASUU for six months in 2013, ASUP, the polytechnic lecturers for four months in 2013, the teachers union, the magistrates, workers in the Judiciary and the amorphous group known as the Joint Health Sector Unions; JOHESU). All these groups had their salaries paid in full."
The Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Biyi Kufo said the protests would continue if their demands were not immediately addressed. The Doctors said “Lagos State Government had also shut the media against them, preventing them from airing their concerns.”
Dr. Kufo told our correspondent that the policies, especially employment of Medical Doctors as "casual" or contract staff, tends to reduce their profession to an all-comers job whereas their job is delicate and requires lengthy of trainings and experiences.