Thursday, 18 July, 2024


NARD strike: Why I invoked ‘no work, no pay’, Ngige tells Buhari -As NMA intervenes

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA -MINISTER of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, yesterday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on why the government invoked the “no work, no pay” policy against the striking resident doctors.

The resident doctors on the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, had embarked on strike since August 2 over the inability of the government to meet with their demands.

He said the government would go ahead to invoke the ‘no work, no pay’ charter on the striking doctors describing the NARD’s resumed strike as illegal and injurious to the nation at a time the country was battling with the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senator Ngige said it was illegal for the doctors to have embarked on the strike without giving adequate notice to the government even as he dismissed the NARD’s claims that it merely resumed a suspended strike.

On the invocation of the ‘no work, no pay’ charter, Ngige said the matter had already been taken to the Industrial Court for adjudication recalling that such was applied on members of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The Minister also said that doctors’ demands were not only directed at the federal government just as he disclosed his readiness to confer with the governors on the matter through the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

According to him, “As you know, the president has been away for quite some time. He was away for two weeks and came back last Friday. While he was away, we had some development in the health sector.

“You all know that this is COVID-19 period and we were expecting Delta variant upsurge with a third wave. And suddenly, the resident doctors down tools and claimed that they were resuming a suspended strike.

“I then told them that there was nothing like suspended strike and that a strike is a strike….I invoked Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, not the law of Ngige, or the law of Buhari, 2004, on withdrawal of wages during the period of strike, which in common parlance here, the principle of no work no pay. So, these are the situation we have been in.

“But by two days ago, the parent associations of resident doctors, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), the equivalent of the British Medical Association, World Medical Association, United States Medical Association, came over on the prompting of the Medical Elders Council Forum; that is experienced senior doctors, former government officials, doctors, and we started dialogue two days ago.

“And we are continuing the dialogue tomorrow (today). At least, they are expected to bring to the discussion, their sub-associations of NMA, National Association of Resident Doctors, Association of Medical and Dental Consultants who also threatened strike over some more issues.

“Then, the Association of Medical Doctors in the Academics who teach in the university, especially in the clinical departments of Colleges of Medicine. So, we have agreed to meet tomorrow (today) at 2pm.

” The government side will be informed. I have just finished briefing the President on the situation as we presently have it on the ground.

“And he has given his blessing for us to proceed. He also gave me permission to liaise with the Chief of Staff so that some government agencies; Federal Ministry of Health, Budget Office of the Federation, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Accountant General, National Salaries Wages and Incomes Commission, Office of Head of Service, all the government agencies involved or that have anything to do with some of the complaints of these three groups of medical doctors should come on board tomorrow so that we can sort the issues out. That is what I came for primarily.”

Credit: Vanguard News Nigeria


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