By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government, last Friday, lived up to its promise as it approved the payment of over N360 million to offset the salaries of medical doctors in Lagos public hospitals across the state who recently called off their 14 weeks old strike over agitation for better welfare packages among others.
The state government has about 1,000 doctors in its workforce.
It will be recalled that the leadership of Medical Guild in Lagos public hospitals on Sunday, November 21, announced the suspension of the strike for a period of five days to allow the state government implement the “mutual agreement” reached at their last meeting.
Also, the state government has assured the doctors that it will implement the 100 per cent Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS, among other demands, as requested by them between January and February, 2011.
…on sacked guild Chairman
On the embattled erstwhile Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Ibrahim Olaifa, who was sacked over his role in the strike, the state government has given favourable signal to review the case as soon as possible.
Chairman of the state Medical Guild, Dr. Ayobode Williams, who confirmed the development to Vanguard on phone, did not disclose the total amount of the money approved as well as the “mutual agreement” but stated it should be over N360 million.
According to him, the state government paid all the three months of September, October and November 2010 doctors’ salaries earlier withheld for their involvement in the strike.
When asked how much he earns per month, Williams disclosed that he earns N140, 000, but the total take home is N120,000 after tax deductions.
Williams, however, expressed the appreciation of the doctors to the state government for making good their promise, saying that it is the prayers of doctors in the state that Governor Babatunde Fashola gets the second term ticket to continue the good work in the health sector and other sectors as well.
The leader of the guild also assured residents and patients of their continued quality service delivery, saying the essence of doctors is to take of the sick and those that require their services.
The decision to suspend the strike was reached by members at an earlier congress inorder to allow the state government fulfil their own part of the bargain.
The state government had accepted to implement the new “mutual agreement” within 72 hours but the guild gave the state government up till Friday, November 26th to allow them more time for all arrangements to be concluded.
However, members of the guild are to meet again sometime in mid February 2011 to review the salary payments and arrears among others.