By Chioma Iruke
An order to stop payment of salaries of Resident Doctors in the country who embarked on nationwide strike last Monday, has been issued by the Nigerian Government.
This was even as the Nigerian government said 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 who confirmed this decision to newsmen, also said the federal government has decided that if by Monday, the resident doctors fail to return to their duty post, they would be made to lose their 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.