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Friday, December 8, 2023

Medical, dental consultants threaten strike over salary review

The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has threatened to embark on an industrial action to press home its demands should the Federal Government fail to take action within the next 21-days.

MDCAN in a communique issued on Tuesday at the end of its extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting decried the non-implementation of the jointly agreed upward review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and the introduction of accouterments allowance with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).

The communique was signed by Association’s President, Dr. Victor Makanjuola, and Secretary-General, Dr. Yemi Raji noted that the released circular only captured the percentage increase on the basic salary, as against applying it to both the basic salaries and all allowances except hazard allowance.

This error, it said, has resulted in the complete exclusion of the clinical lecturers from benefiting from the upward review.

“The commencement date for the new circular was agreed to be January 1, 2023, rather than June 1, 2023. We believe this error will be corrected without delay. The recent upward review of CONMESS did not take into consideration the consequences of the fuel subsidy removal and exponential inflation that has pervaded our socio-economic space in the past three months.

“Despite our association’s decision to keep faith with the engagement and negotiations with the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission for more than two years regarding the correction of the shortfalls in remuneration for Clinical Lecturers (Honorary Consultants), the issue is yet to be conclusively addressed by the Federal Government,” the communique reads in part.

The Council also decried the failure of the government to appreciate the magnitude of the impacts of brain drain in the health sector, as exhibited by the refusal of the National Council on Establishment to approve the Federal Ministry of Health’s proposal on the upward review of the age of retirement for the Medical and Dental Consultants and other health workers.

Also, it pointed out that the government has failed to resolve the ongoing disputes with the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) and its attendant impacts on access to health care by Nigerians, as well as the kidnapping of doctors in Nigeria.

It therefore demanded the immediate review of the newly revised CONMESS circular and the issuance of a new circular that would reflect the agreed percentage on both the basic salary and other allowances apart from hazard allowance.

This according to the Council would ensure that the clinical lecturers benefit from the upward review while calling for the correction of the error of commencement of the implementation of the upward review of CONMESS from June 1, 2023 to January 1, 2023.

Other demands by the Association are: “The upward review of the CONMESS should take into consideration the impacts of the fuel subsidy removal and the high inflationary trend that is currently being experienced.

“A demand for the immediate implementation and circularisation of the agreed modalities for correcting the shortfalls in remunerations of Clinical Lecturers (Honorary Consultants). An appeal for the universal applicability of CONMESS to all medical and dental doctors, particularly those in public universities.

“Demand for the immediate implementation of the upward review of age retirement to 70 years for Consultants and 65 years for other health workers, as an immediate measure to bridge the ongoing massive brain drain.

“Call on government at all levels, as well as the security agencies to do all within their powers, to ensure the safety of members and other Nigerians while effecting the immediate and safe release of those currently held captive by kidnappers.

The NEC said it could no longer guarantee the present relative industrial harmony within the public hospitals and the medical schools if the FG fails to satisfactorily resolve the issues within the next 21days.

Christiana Alabi-Akande
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