FG gives striking doctors terms for reconciliation

The Federal Government has said it will only withdraw the case it filed against the striking resident doctors if they resumed work.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, gave the terms yesterday while briefing reporters after a meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

He said: “They should come back to work and if they come back to work, we can take other things from there.

“The No Work, No Pay policy would be observed because it is a global practice, which is also captured in Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act under the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

“I discussed the state of the healthcare system industrial disputes with Mr. President. As you (all) well know, the resident doctors are still on strike. Their strike has now entered the 33rd day today. Meanwhile, government is doing everything possible to make sure they get back to 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.”

Ngige continued: “Out of their 12-point issue raised in their demands, we have done all. We have come to agreement on all, including those that even affect the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria and medical doctors, who are in the academia and teaching hospitals.

“So, we have handled all. The only point of disagreement now is that they said in the agreements and the memorandum of action, government should insert that Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act will not apply to them.

“That section says 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 strike.”

The minister said government had applied the rule in the past.

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