FG Rules Out Doctors' Strike, Implements No-Work, No-Pay


The federal government has warned members of the National Association of Medical Residents to postpone their planned five-day warning strike, calling it illegal.

The Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige, issued the warning today shortly after receiving a letter from the CEO of NARD informing him of the upcoming industrial action which is expected to begin today, May 16, 2023 at midnight. Responding to the letter dated May 16, 2023, which was delivered to his office at about 5:00pm on the same day, Ngige said he received the letter and contacted the Minister of Health who informed him that a meeting with the resident was arranged. in his office. doctors Wednesday, May 17. That is why he advised doctors to use the opportunity for social dialogue with their employer, which is not stated in the law, instead of going on a warning strike. He said: "I advise them to attend the meeting with the health minister tomorrow. I also very strongly urge them not to go on a five-day warning strike. Nothing more than a warning strike. A strike is a strike. "If they want to take that risk, there are options. It's their decision. They have the right to strike. You cannot deny them that right. But their employer has another right under section 3 of the Trade Disputes Act to withhold wages for those five days. "So if NARD has strike funds to pay its members for those five days, there is no problem. The Minister of Health tells the teaching hospitals to hire adhoc people for those five days and they use the strike money to hire adhoc doctors. These are the ILO's Decent Work Principles, especially for essential service providers. Life must be protected. One of my sons is a local doctor. I advise him to go to work and sign the attendance sheet. People seen at work get paid. If you don't work, you don't get paid." Commenting on the five demands of the doctors, Ngige said the federal government has no power to compel states to tame the medical training fund because health is on the back list where both the federal and state governments have the power to make laws.
According to him, the role of the federal government is to make policy, and if the states disagree, they are free to make their own policy. He added that the federal government cannot bully states into taming the MRTF if they don't want to. On the issue of immediate payment to MRTF members, he said it was earmarked for the 2023 budget but was not announced as the 2022 budget is still pending, adding that the 2022 installments have all been paid. He refuted NARD's allegation that the federal government failed to pay its members a minimum wage adjustment, saying that all workers in the education and health sectors and even defense agencies benefited from the change. He pointed out that doctors cannot call a national strike because some states owe money to their members, noting that the federal government also cannot intervene because it is a state matter. Similarly, he said the Federal Government as the executive cannot prevent the National Assembly bill to bond doctors for five years because it is a private member's bill. According to him, any interference by the executive power violates the autonomy and independence of the legislative power. Ngige said that although the bill has passed first and second reading, he is confident that it will be defeated in open session because the law prohibits forced labour. He advised doctors not to talk about a 200% salary increase because it is not possible, adding that apart from what the government has done for doctors and other health workers like increasing risk allowances, the Nigerian Medical Association has already negotiated the income. the National Salary of the Federal Ministry of Health – and with the Salary Committee and the President's Salary Committee on salary increases for doctors. "It is inappropriate for medical students to go on strike when the consultants who trained them have already negotiated with the federal government." (Knock)

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