Let The Strike Continue : Nigerian Government Rules Out Further Talks With Resident Doctors

The Federal Government has ruled out any further discussion with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) over the ongoing doctors’ strike.

The government said it has invoked the “No work no pay” rule as contained in Section 43 of the Labour Act.

It added the doctors will not receive payment as long as the strike persists.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who disclosed these when he appeared yesterday on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television, said the position of government has been communicated to the leadership of NARD.

He said the government has given the striking doctors seven – day ultimatum to return to their post or risk being replaced by Monday next week.

Ngige said the government is ready to replace the striking doctors with local ones, saying it has so many alternatives at its disposal.

The Minister also said the government may drag the doctors to the National Industrial Court or Industrial Arbitration Panel if the strike persists by Monday when the seven – day ultimatum would have elapsed.

He said: “I won’t meet them anymore because I have other things to do. I did two conciliations yesterday. Am I going to be wasting my time with them?

“I have other tools within the labour laws and I will do it. I invoked Section 43 of the labour laws this afternoon (yesterday). I have communicated it to NARD.

“They will not receive money for the period they are on strike and it will never count as a period of pensionable position in their career.

“Even the International Labour Organisation supports it because they render essential services. They are not supposed to go on strike without notifying me 15 days before the day of strike.

“As we speak I have not received any notification that is why I am invoking Section 43 of the Labour Act on withdrawal of services, right to strike and the right to protect the employer and their patients.

“Things will happen next week. Let them wait because they are taking government for a ride and it is wrong. They are playing with lives.”

Asked if he will invoke the labour laws next week, the Minister said: “I will and by next week I will escalate it because reconcilation has failed and the law says if conciliation has failed on my own side I can move it up – Industrial Arbitration Panel or National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

“The ones (demands) that are Federal Government have been treated. If I did 95 per cent for you that is distinction.

“I have given them seven days (the day the strike started); it started on Monday. My seven days terminates on Monday. I will invoke other things that are allowed by law. The employer has a right to replace them in the period they were away.

“You can use local doctors to replace them. There are many people on the standby.”

Asked if the Federal Government could cope without the doctors, who are rendering critical services at a time when there are rising cases of COVID-19 and diarrhea, Ngige said things are under control.

The Minister said he has warned his children who are medical doctors to stay of the ongoing strike which he described “nonsense.”

Ngige said he has a son and daughter who are practising doctors.

He also blamed state governments for the situation, saying people are not talking about that but focusing on the Federal Government alone.

The Minister accused state governments of not doing enough in terms of healthcare in the country.

-The Nation

About Don Saint

PR Guru / Author / Promoter / Controversial Writer / Hip Hop Artiste / Actor / Human Rights Activist. The First Nigerian Hip Hop Artiste to obtain a Masters Degree (M.A) in Arts ( Religion & Human Relations). The author of one of the most controversial books in Nigeria; "Emancipation from Masturbation". With over 12 Movies and 3 Musical albums since 2003. Former Events Manager at Silverbird’s Rhythm Fm Awka Station till 2010. For more info. Call : 08033239298.

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