JOINT ACTION FRONT (JAF)
Declares Support for
THE STRIKE OF LAGOS MEDICAL DOCTORS
· Governor Fashola Must Meet Lagos Doctors’ Demands or Resign!
· Nigerian Working people, Women, Traders, Professionals, Transporters, Students, Unemployed, etc: Unite to Save Public Healthcare Now!!
WHY LAGOS DOCTORS ARE ON STRIKE?
Lagos Medical Doctors are on Strike because the Lagos State Government failed to implement Collective Agreements reached with them in April 2011 on the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS). The wage and welfare issue in the disputes bothers on violation by the Lagos State Government of the principles of Collective Bargaining and the rule of law.
Lagosians, Nigerians and the international public should know that the ongoing strike, which first commenced as a warning strike on April 11 – 13, 2012, became inevitable following Lagos Government’s refusal to heed the numerous appeals by the medical doctors in the past 13 months for the full implementation of the CONMESS Agreement.
The CONMESS was signed into law via the Federal Government Circular SWC/S/04/S.410/220 of 29th September 2009 to serve as a universal salary scale and minimum reference standard of remuneration for all doctors in Nigeria regardless of location or employer. Like every other profession, Conditions of service of workers in the health sector are regulated by International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, which employers as a party in Collective Bargaining are bound to respect.
THE FACTS OF THE ISSUE
i. The demotion of ALL doctors to grade steps 1 and 2 of their various levels and Demoting the entry level for specialists from GL 15 step 4 to GL 15 step 1. The demotion which, not only undermine the seniority status and income due to different ranks of doctors, but also is contrary to the Lagos State Civil Service rules, the agreement on CONMESS and rules and regulations governing wage adjustment in labour matters.
ii. Reneging on the payment of teaching allowance to GL 10 (House officers) and GL 12 (Medical Officers and Registrars). There is a circular to the effect that these two categories of doctors are entitled to teaching allowance. Moreso, it should be stated that House officers/Medical officers teach, contrary to the falsehoods and misinformation being perpetrated by Lagos State officials.
iii. Selective implementation of CONMESS as it relates to the Entry level of Medical Officers and Registrars on GL 12 step 1 instead of GL 12 step 2. This divisive plot put some of the medical officers in Lagos Government employment at a disadvantage to their professional counterparts where CONMESS is fully implemented.
iv. Failure to review its imposition on higher taxes on wages. The deliberate tax policy is to short-change the Doctors and to ensure that they do not enjoy the full compliments of their wage and welfare benefits as contained in the Agreement on CONMESS.
Rather than respond to these legitimate demands, the Lagos State Government has embarked on executive lawlessness and brutality against the doctors, thereby using all known illegality to justify its illegal sack of the doctors and the ejection order from Government quarters.
What Lagosians, Nigerians and the international public should know is that “in a labour dispute, a party cannot decide on what is legal or illegal. You cannot be a judge in your own case. Illegality of a Strike cannot be decided by an Employer, but by an independent arbiter (the Court) that both parties must have confidence in.
Specifically, the section 628 of decisions and principle of freedom of association committee of the governing body of the International Labour Organization (ILO).states as follows: “Responsibility for declaring a strike illegal should not lie with the government but with an independent body which has the confidence of the parties involved.”
Therefore, the purported sack and ejection of the doctors is an exercise in futility that cannot stand the test of law and time.
THIS GOVERNMENT IS IRRESPONSIBLE, IT SHOULD HONOUR COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS REACHED WITH THE DOCTORS!
Lagosians and Nigerians must be reminded that the Lagos Doctors went on a 14-weeks strike in August – November 2010 and it was suspended only when the Lagos State Government agreed to implement CONMESS fully via the letter LGS/HOS/06/VOL. VI/30 dated 19th November 2010 and signed by Adesegun Ogunlewe as Head of Service.
The strike was again resumed in February 2011 because the Lagos Government failed to honour its November 19th 2010 Agreement. The 2011 Strike was called off after the LASG re-affirmed commitment to implement CONMESS fully. See below as endorsed by the immediate past Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Dr. Jide Idris – the Lagos State Commissioner for Health and Dr. Henry Ajomale – Lagos State Chairman of ACN.
LAGOS GOVERNMENT SHOULD RESPECT AGREEMENTS WITH DOCTORS NOW!
Lagos State Government is using public power recklessly to victimise and repress the Doctors for daring to demand that their legitimate rights and Collective Agreements should be respected.
The State has a responsibility to protect the citizens including the provision of adequate healthcare. Yet, Governor Fashola sent his father abroad for medical treatment at the time the Doctors’ Strike is on. Since Governor Fashola spuriously claims he sacked the doctors to protect public interest, we should ask: If the Governor is to protect the people, why did he send his own father abroad for treatment? Why are the necessary medical equipments not available in Lagos Hospitals since we have medical experts that can treat his father here? Why has he resorted to the use of incompetent “referral doctors” who are being enticed with a wage twice what they ought to have been paid if they are in regular employment?
The illegal sack of the Doctors and neglect of the health sector by Lagos State Government is driven by its preference for projects that provide cover for private accumulation of wealth and diverting public fund to service jamborees and patronage to political jobbers at the expense of human life and social welfare. Implementing CONMESS fully, according to the Lagos Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) would cause just additional N33.5 million monthly, compared to its looting spree to line private hands and profiteers.
LAGOSIANS MUST RISE AGAINST THE INSENSITIVE AND ANTI-PEOPLE POLICIES OF THE LAGOS GOVERNMENT
Governor Fashola should not be allowed to go on with these bad policies. One of the anti-poor policies is the issue of the Taxi Drivers.
The Lagos State Government is operating an unlawful policy instrument to run the poor Lagos taxi operators out of business. It banned the use of Tokunbo cars for regular taxi business and put in private hands a money-spinning ‘deal’ that compelled taxi operators to buy a car worth N4.5 million only from its pool of ‘private contractors’.
Also, Lagos Governor is using sponsored thugs and police arrest to victimise and harass these hapless and poor taxi operators. Despite that it is clear to the Lagos State House of Assembly and even to Governor Fashola who is a SAN, that no such law exists in Lagos State to deny the poor from running the business of Taxi, the Lagos Government in its penchant for illegallity and lawlessness is using its Licensing Authority to deny any taxi operator that does not patronise its prohibitive N4.5m car deals, registration of their vehicle as taxi.
JAF urges Lagosians, Nigerians and the international public to rise to RESIST the attack by the Lagos Government on the Taxi Drivers and other anti-poor attacks such as the increase in school fees in LASU beyond the reach of poor parents, repression of Lekki residents who are demanding the abrogation of the illegal toll gate payment, distortion in the payment of TSS to Primary and Secondary Teachers, underpayment of the N18,000 Minimum Wage to its civil servants, and the daily harassment, arrest and detention of Okada riders, poor market traders and women by RRS, KAI, and LASTMA.
DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!
Dr. Oladipo Fashina Comrade Abiodun Aremu
JAF Chairperson JAF Secretary