Lagos Doctors Suspend 14-Week Old Strike


Striking doctors in the Lagos State public hospitals, South West Nigeria have suspended their 14-week old industrial action after the state government succumbed to their demands.

The Chairman Lagos State Medical Guild, Dr. Ayobode Williams (middle), addressing journalists after the suspension of strike by doctors in Lagos State hospitals, during a meeting held at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), on Sunday, November 21, 2010. With him are: Secretary General Association of Resident Doctors (LASUTH Chapter), Dr. Saheed Babajide (left), and the Secretary General, Medical Guild, Dr. Salau Tajudeen (right).

The doctors, under the aegis of the Medical Guild embarked on strike in September to press home their demand for the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS, approved for federal doctors.

Several meetings between the doctors and the state government in the  past did not yield result but the meeting the doctors held with the government on Friday led to the resolution of the crisis, with government entering into a mutual agreement with the doctors.

After the congress meeting of the Medical Guild today, the doctors resolved to suspend the strike and ordered its members to resume work by 8.00 am tomorrow.

Chairman, Medical Guild, Dr. Olabode Williams told newsmen that the strike had been suspended but said the guild would give the state government 72 hours to pay all its withheld salaries and allowance or the doctors would reconvene on Friday to resume the strike.

“After deliberation, we decided to suspend the 14-week old strike to give way for government to show us their sincerity.  If within 72 hours the withheld salaries were not paid, congress will hold on Friday but if the salaries are paid, congress will hold in February, 2011 to review the issue of CONMESS.

“Works resume by 8.00 am tomorrow in all government hospitals.  We implore Lagosians to visit our health facilities tomorrow,” he said.

On whether the state government had agreed to pay them 100 percent of CONMESS, Williams was evasive, saying that “there is a good understanding between us and government and by January, the salary review will be paid.

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“We have reached an agreement with the government.  A new understanding has been reached between us and the government.”

At the meeting between the government and the doctors on Friday, a consensus agreement was reached between the parties.  The agreement was signed by the Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe.

In the agreement, it was agreed that by January 2011, government will implement a mutually agreed wage review for the doctors and that government had significantly reviewed the case of the sacked former Chairman, Medical Guild, Dr. Ibrahim Olaifa and would reverse his sack.

It was also agreed that the unpaid arrears of the doctors while they were on strike would be considered and that the doctors’ request for payment of the withheld salary for October and November would be reviewed.

Other agreements reached were that the tax burden on the doctors would be reviewed; issues of check-off dues to be resolved and that no officer or group of officers would be victimized on the role they played during the strike.

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

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