MINISTER of labour and employment Chris Ngige has said that the federal government will not fail to implement the ‘no work, no pay’ policy on the striking National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) if they fail to resume work.
Ngige stated this on Friday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
The minister said he would invite the doctors for a dialogue after the Easter break, just as he threatened to invoke one of the weapons in the labour laws on them if they refused to refuse work.
“By Tuesday, I will invite them back. If they become recalcitrant, there are other things I can do. There are weapons in the labour laws, I will invoke them. There is no work, no pay.
“Their employers have a role also to keep their business afloat, to keep patients alive. They can employ local doctors. We won’t get there, but if we are going to get there, we will use that stick.”
He added that the doctors’ hazard allowance currently pegged at N5,000 would be reviewed in five weeks’ time.
“It is the last NMA President Faduyile that called my attention that the hazard (allowance) was ₦5,000. I raised it with the finance minister and the vice president in the Economic Sustainability Meeting. In fact, to use the words of the vice president, it is criminal, it shouldn’t happen.
“The new hazard allowance will be done in the next five weeks. It is in the Memorandum of Action that we signed. Immediately after the Easter break, I will convene a meeting to look at it holistically,” he added.
Why the doctors are on strike
The Nigerian medical practitioners had, on Thursday, April 1, commenced strike to protest working conditions and salary arrears, just two days after the president had left the country for a medical checkup.
Prior to the commencement of the strike, NARD had warned the government of impending strike if the government failed to address their grievances.
NARD cited unjust delay of salaries of its members, non-implementation of 50 percent hazard allowance for all health workers and failure of the government to pay house officers for three months as reasons for the strike.
NARD had also lamented the rate of brain drain of medical practitioners in the country, blaming it on lack of employment in hospitals, poor remuneration and poor conditions of service.
The ICIR had earlier reported how work pressure forced Nigerian doctors and nurses to relocate abroad while the government looked away