STRIKE: FG To Meet Aggrieved Resident Doctors Today
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has expressed readiness to meet with the leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) today to resolve the issues raised by the association before embarking on indefinite strike action on Monday.
Ngige disclosed this yesterday at the opening session of Organization of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA) workshop in Abuja.
The minister who enjoined labour unions to desist from reneging on a Collective Bargaining Agreement, detailed with timelines for faithful implementation, said, “If you have a right you must exercise that right within the confines of the law…other laws flow down from the Nigerian constitution- one of it is the Trade Union Act of 2004 where procedures for conciliation and settlement of disputes between an employer and employee is contained. The law says a worker must give notice before going on strike and it must be observed. At every conciliation, it is incumbent on all parties to follow the line of conciliation and order flows from the law… Our law allows for if you are not happy with conciliation you come back. You don’t go on strike.”
But the President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba speaking on the side line of the opening session of Organization of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA) workshop said that federal government’s non-respect for signed agreements culminated in the industrial actions declared by the two unions (ASUU and NARD).
He said, “On the issue of ASUU strike, it’s about respecting our collective bargaining agreements.”
Wabba stressed that in situations where industrial disputes snowballed into strikes; adequate attentions were not given to process of implementation of signed agreements by the government.
“When you signed agreements you must implement them. If you have difficulties in implementing them you don’t wait until it is actually the eve of implementation before you now begin to run here and there – no! You must be able to be proactive,” said the NLC president.
Meanwhile the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has appealed to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to suspend its strike action in the interest of Nigerians in need of medical care.
A statement from the ministry yesterday said Adewole assured the doctors that the Federal Government was committed to addressing all the issues in contention, adding that the government needed a little more time to address the issues.
He said another round of meeting had been scheduled for today and it is hoped that more progress would have been made in reaching a consensus in all the issues being discussed.
Prof Adewole directed medical directors and chief medical directors of federal government owned hospitals to ensure that consultants and youth corps doctors as well as doctors on internship were on duty to provide health services at the hospitals.
The minister assured all Nigerians that federal government health facilities would be open to render services to the people while the government continued to dialogue with the resident doctors to return to work.