Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


FG says Doctors’ strike unlawful, to implement no-work no-pay

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige

The National Association of Resident Doctors‘ planned five-day warning strike has been advised to be abandoned by the Federal Government, which referred to it as unlawful.

Chris Ngige, the minister of labor and employment, issued the warning today not long after receiving a letter from a NARD official informing him of the upcoming strike, which is scheduled to begin at midnight on this day, May 16, 2023.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Ngige responded to the letter, which was dated May 16, 2023, and sent to his office about 5 p.m. on the same day, saying that after receiving it, he contacted the Minister of Health, who told him that his office had organized a meeting with the resident doctors for the following day, May 17, 2023.

Therefore, rather than going on a warning strike, which is illegal, he recommended the doctors take advantage of the chance for social discourse with their employer.

I’ll tell them to show up to the meeting with the health minister tomorrow,” he said. Additionally, I will strongly encourage them against going on a five-day warning strike. Nothing compares to a warning strike. An out is an out.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“The options are available if they choose to take that risk. They will decide. They are allowed to strike. That right cannot be denied to them. However, their employer may withhold their salary for those five days in accordance with Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act.

“Therefore, there won’t be a problem if the NARD has strike cash to pay their members for those five days.

The teaching hospitals will be required by the health minister to hire ad hoc personnel for those five days, and they will pay the ad hoc physicians with money from the strikers.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The ILO’s principles are being put to good use, especially for those providing critical services. Lives ought to be preserved. One of my sons is a medical resident.

I’ll tell him to report to work and mark the attendance sheet. The people who are seen at work are the ones who get paid. You won’t get paid if you don’t work.

Speaking about the five demands made by the physicians, Ngige claimed that because health is on the residual list.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Where both the federal and state governments have the authority to enact laws, the federal government lacks the authority to force the states to domesticate the Medical Residency Training Fund.

He contends that the Federal Government’s role is to set national policy and that the states are free to set their own national policy in cases of disagreement.

He also said that if the states do not wish to domesticate the MRTF, the federal government cannot force them to do so.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

He stated that the 2023 budget included funding for the MRTF’s members to be paid immediately, but that it has not yet been made available because the 2022 budget is still in effect. He added that all 2022 members had already been paid.

He refuted NARD’s assertion that the Federal Government failed to pay arrears on the minimum wage consequential adjustment to their members, claiming that the adjustment was received by all employees in the education and health sectors as well as the defense industry.

He pointed out that because certain states owed their members, the doctors could not call a national strike and that the federal government could not get involved because it was a state problem.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

In a similar vein, he claimed that because the National Assembly’s measure to bond doctors for five years is a private member’s bill, the Federal Government, which serves as the executive branch of government, cannot act.

He contends that any involvement by the executive in the topic violates the independence and autonomy of the legislative branch of the government.

Despite the bill passing first and second readings, Ngige said he was confident it would be rejected at the public hearing since the law forbids forced labor.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

He cautioned the doctors against discussing a 200 percent pay increase because it was impractical, and he added that the Nigeria Medical Association was already negotiating a pay increase for doctors with the Federal Ministry of Health, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

And the Presidential Committee on Salaries in addition to everything else the government has done for doctors and other workers in the health sector, such as increasing hazard allowances.

“It is odd that student doctors are going on strike when their trainers are already in talks with the Federal Government,”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.