18th August, 2010
Proceedings at the Industrial Court this morning shows that there is ray of hope that the striking resident doctors in Lagos State, South-West Nigeria, may soon return to work.
When the matter came up this morning at the Industrial Court sitting at Luggard Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos, the presiding president of the court, Babatunde Adejuwon, advised the two parties – the Lagos State government and the striking doctors to settle the matter amicably.
The court advised the striking doctors to call off their strike while Lagos State Government on their own part should call for a dialogue to see that the labour crisis is resolved amicably.
In view of this new spirit of amicable settlement, the lawyers of the two parties, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, for Lagos State and Mr. Bamidele Aturu, representing the striking doctors, unanimously asked for a stand down of the matter for 30 minutes to consult their clients and get back to the court.
Thereafter, the president of the court, Mr. Babatunde Adejumo adjourned the matter for 30 minutes for the two parties to seek amicable settlement. Proceedings were yet to resume as at the time of this report.
A meeting scheduled between officials of the Lagos State Government and the representatives of doctors working in the stateâ€™s public hospitals on Monday to find ways to amicably resolve their differences did not hold.
It was cancelled when the government asked the doctors to call off the strike before a meeting couild take place.
Doctors, under the aegis of the Medical Guild and the Association of Resident Doctors, ARD, working in public hospitals went on strike last Thursday following the inability of the Lagos State Government to meet their demands.
The doctors are demanding the immediate implementation of the new Federal Government Approved Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS approved for doctors at the federal level.
The National Industrial Court in Lagos, which the Lagos State Government had taken the case to, had at the weekend appealed to the doctors to suspend the ongoing strike to pave way for dialogue in order to resolve the crisis.
A top source in the ARD who craved anonymity told PM NEWS that the strike would only be called off if the government meets its demands and reaches a compromise with them.
However, the strike, which entered its sixth day today has crippled activities in all the stateâ€™s General Hospitals and public health facilities in the state.
Some patients who commented on the situation, said they were not informed about the strike before hand, adding that they did not know why the doctors were on strike.
A woman, Mrs. Adunni Sunday whose son was admitted at a hospital for typhoid fever said that when the strike began, she was asked to take her son to a private hospital or employ a â€œhome serviceâ€ if she really wants her son to be treated effectively as the doctors were not ready to work.
â€œThe government should consider these doctors and assist us too because without them, we are finished,â€ she said.
According to the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris at the weekend, there was no way the government could pay the CONMESS now as it was not included in the budget and pleaded with the doctors to call off the strike.
He added that it would cost the state government N1.8 billion to pay the doctors monthly if it was to implement the CONMESS, saying that government still had other sectors of the economy begging for attention.
â€”Akin Kuponiyi & Kazeem Ugbodaga