The Federal Government has urged the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), to suspend its ongoing industrial action.
The Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige said this in a statement by, Deputy Head, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Mr Charles Akpan in Abuja.
Mr. Ngige said that it was imperative for NARD to suspend the industrial action as Government had already addressed six out of the eight demands listed by the Association.
He said government would reconvene a conciliation meeting between NARD and Federal Ministries of Health, and Finance, Budget and National Planning on Wednesday at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to end the ongoing strike.
According to Ngige, “by Labour Laws and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, when issues are being conciliated, all parties are enjoined not to employ arm-twisting methods to intimidate or foist a state of helplessness on the other party; in this case, your employers, the Federal Ministry of Health”.
He, therefore, appealed to NARD to respect the country’s laws and suspend its industrial action, while noting that a high percentage of the Association’s demands had already been addressed.
“This is coupled with the existence of a pending case in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) instituted by two Civil Society groups against NARD, the Attorney -General of the Federation, and the Ministers of Health, and Labour and Employment.“NARD had no reason to embark on an industrial action, ”he said.
He also stated that the groups, Citizens Advocacy for Social Rights (CASER) and Association of Women in Trading and Agriculture (AWITA), had also asked for an interlocutory injunction against further strike by NARD.
He added that all the parties had already appeared and exchanged court processes.
Mr. Ngige said that in spite of lean resources occasioned by the effect of COVID-19 on oil output, the federal government had already spent N20 billion on the Special Hazard and Inducement Allowances for Medical and Health Workers for April, May and June 2020, with a few outstanding payments to some health workers for June 2020.
He disclosed that the federal fovernment have appropriated the sum of N4 billion in the Special Intervention COVID-19, while N500 billion in 2020 appropriation for the funding of Medical Residency Training and intended to do same in the ongoing 2021 Budget.
The minister further stated that N4 billion has been processed for payment. Ngige also said that the matter between NARD and the University of Port Harcourt