By John Ikani
The Federal Government has instituted a case before the National Industrial Court against the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), over the strike embarked upon by the health workers.
Disclosing this to newsmen, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige also threatened that the government would enforce “no-work, no-pay” if the strike continues.
The doctors had commenced the strike on August 1 over “irregular payment of salaries”, among other issues.
Efforts by the House of Representatives to reach a new agreement between the federal government and NARD ended in a deadlock on Tuesday — despite a meeting that lasted six hours.
Speaking on the legal action taken by the federal government, Ngige said most of the demands by the resident doctors have been met, but efforts to get them to call off the strike had “failed”.
“Whereas, trade dispute has arisen and now exists between the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors and the Federal Ministry of Health/Federal Government and whereas, efforts to promote settlement through conciliation were on-going but had now failed.
“And considering the facts that members of NARD, who are classified as essential services workers/employees had embarked on strike on Monday, August 2, 2021, over the issues under conciliation, contrary to the provisions of section 18 of the Trade Disputes Act CAP T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, after attending a Conciliation and Agreement Review meeting on July 22, 2021, and further considering that the Federal Ministry of Health claims to have and produced evidence to have met most of their demands based on the various Memorandum of Action reached during past conciliations especially that of July 22, 2021.
“Now, therefore, I, Senator Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, in the exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 17 of the Trades Disputes Act, CAP T8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, hereby refer the matter for consideration, and the issues in dispute to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria for adjudication.
“I, hereby refer the matter for consideration, and the issues in dispute to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria for adjudication,” he said.
The minister also appealed to the medical consultants in hospitals who doubled as teachers in medical colleges not to join the ongoing strike as threatened by the NMA.