Doctors in the employment of Lagos State Government in-charge of public hospitals in the state on Tuesday commenced an indefinite strike, having began with a three-day warning strike to demand for full payment of Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS).
But following the decision of the doctors on the industrial action, the state government has described the strike as ridiculous, unnecessary and malicious.
Reacting to the industrial action, Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba said the strike was aimed at discrediting the state government.
He noted that the latest strike had no basis since the government had restated its commitment to ensure better welfare for all the medical doctors in the state.
Ibirogba explained that the demands of doctors seeking teaching allowance for the House Officers who, on moral ground was assumed, to still be undergoing training was fraudulent.
According to him, “when they are demanding for same teaching allowance for house officers, isn’t it fraudulent for someone who is still undergoing training. What do we call that, learning allowance or teaching allowance?”
The commissioner said the strike was invented to weaken the confidence people have in public hospitals, saying no state has the workforce of doctors like Lagos and none of the states in Nigeria had implemented the CONMESS the way Lagos has done.
Our correspondent however gathered that policemen were sent to disrupt the doctors’ congress and meeting just as they also moved to arrest Dr. Akinmuyiwa Odosote.
But in spite of the harassment, the adamant doctors regrouped at another location for the meeting.
The policemen bent on disrupting the meeting came to the meeting and ordered the chairman, Medical Guild, Odusote to follow them to Lion Building Police Station, an act that angered the other doctors who regrouped at another location and declared the commencement the indefinite strike action.
When contacted, Odusote said the doctors had declared the indefinite strike following government’s harassment. They explained that the police came to arrest him (Odusote) and that his colleagues felt bad about government’s action and decided to down tools.
Odusote said the doctors would not appear before a disciplinary panel set up to try the doctors for embarking on the three-day warning strike and for refusing to answer the queries issued them.
He pointed out that since the doctors called off the initial three days warning strike, the government did not deemed it fit to dialogue with them, but rather, introduced obnoxious policies to cow them to submission.
At the Health Service Commission, HSC office at Lagos Hospital yesterday, heavily armed policemen were stationed at the entrance to prevent people from entering the venue of the Personnel Management Board, PMB meeting, the disciplinary panel set up to try the doctors.