Nigeria government invokes no work, no pay rule on striking doctors
The federal government has issued an order to stop payment of salaries of the resident doctors in the country who embarked on nationwide strike last Monday.
The government also said that it would refer the dispute between it and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to the National Industrial Court for arbitration.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, while confirming the measure to newsmen in a telephone interview last night, said that the federal government had decided that if by Monday, the resident doctors fail to return to their duty post that they would be made to lose the pay beginning from the day of the commencement of the strike until it is called off.
“The no work, no pay rule has been triggered off with effect from Monday August 2, and if by Monday they do not return to work, government will be compelled to implement the order to the letter,” he said.
Ngige said that the government would also compute the period that the resident doctors went on strike in April and seize their salaries.
According to the minister, a circular to this effect has been issued and communicated to NARD and its members by yesterday.
He added that the government would by Monday declare talks with doctors on a failed negotiation and proceed to refer the issue to the Industrial Court.
“I will also take additional steps to declare discussions with the doctors a failed conciliation and refer the matter to the arbitration panel or National Industrial Court,” he said.
NARD had issued a communiqué at the end of their National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Umuahia, Abia State capital, directing its members nationwide to begin strike last Monday.
The association said: “after critical appraisal of the performance of both federal and state governments on all the issues affecting the welfare of our members as observed above and the insincerity of government in implementing the Memorandum of Action after 113 days, the NEC unanimously resolved by vote to resume the total and indefinite strike action from 08.00hrs on Monday, August 2, 2021.”
However, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had pleaded with the striking doctors to go back to work, saying the country is in a health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a press conference held on Thursday, Ehanire said: “I believe that they have a duty to meet to reassess the situation and to call off the strike. They will also realise that this is not the right time to embark on a strike because the perception of the country is now that they are facing serious health problems and that doctors are going on strike. This will not give us a good image as doctors.”
Ehanire said that the government expects the resident doctors to exercise restraint, apply reason and call off their strike.
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