The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on an indefinite strike on August 2, 2021, to express its grievance over what it describes as “irregular payment of salaries”, among other issues.
Attempts by stakeholders, including the House of Representatives, to intervene in the situation failed to produce meaningful results.
Despite a restraining order by the industrial court on members of NARD, the strike still lingers on amid the threat of a no-work, no-pay rule issued by the federal government.
Speaking on the development after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, Ngige said the 12-point demands of NARD have been met but the enforcement of section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act during the period of the strike remains effective.
Ngige stated that other unions in the country suffered similar consequences when they embarked on strike.
“Out of their 12-point issues raised in their demands, we have done all, we have come to agreements on all, including those that even affect the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria and medical doctors who are in academics and teaching universities,” he said.
“So, we have handled it all, the only point of disagreement now is that they said that the agreements and the memorandum of action that Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act will not apply to them.
“That section says that when a worker withdraws his services from his employer, the employer is at liberty to withhold payment of emoluments to him and the ILO principles at work and strike said you can use that money to pay other people you have engaged in that particular period of the strike.
“That’s why overseas and in other climes, you don’t see strikes getting more than three days or four days or five days, highest. They only do picketing and things like that, because people’s lives are involved.”
On the legal action instituted by the federal government, the labour minister said the suit will be dropped if the resident doctors resume work.
“I briefed Mr. President and we’ve agreed that they should come back to work and if they come back to work, we can take
other things from there; we’ll drop the case in court, and then they will come back and get things done,” he added.