Strike: We can’t be intimidated, resident doctors tell Ngige

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Deborah Tolu-Kolawole

The National Association of Resident Doctors on Friday said its members were not moved by the threat by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, to invoke the no-work-no-pay policy.

It said its members were determined to stand their ground against every form of intimidation.

The association’s National President, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, said this in an interview with Saturday PUNCH on Friday.

Ngige had while being featured on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Friday said he had warned his “children who are medical doctors” to stay off the ongoing strike which he described as “nonsense.”

The minister vowed to invoke the no-work-no-pay rule against the doctors if they don’t resume by next week.

He said, “Next week, I’ll escalate this issue because reconciliation has failed.

“I won’t meet them anymore because I have other things to do. I had two conciliations yesterday (Thursday). Am I going to be wasting my time with them?

“I have other tools within the labour laws and I will use them. I invoked Section 43 of the labour laws this afternoon (Friday). I have communicated it to NARD. They will not receive money for the period they are on strike and it will never count as a period of pensionable position in their career.

“Even the International Labour Organisation supports it because they render essential services. They are not supposed to go on strike without notifying me 15 days before the day of the strike.

“As we speak, I have not received any notification and that is why I am invoking Section 43 of the Labour Act – on the withdrawal of services, right to strike, and the right to protect the employer and their patients.

“Things will happen next week. Let them wait because they are taking the government for a ride, and it is wrong. They are playing with lives.

“My children are medical doctors and I have warned them not to be part of this nonsense strike.”

Asked if the Federal Government could cope without the doctors amid rising cases of COVID-19 and cholera, Ngige said things were under control.

He also blamed state governments for the situation, saying people were only focusing on the Federal Government.

However, responding to the minister’s threat, NARD President, Okhuaihesuyi, said, “That policy is extant but implementing it this time would only be vindictive and selective.

“However, our members are strongly determined to sacrifice everything for the soul of the medical profession and Nigerian patients.”

“We will not be moved by any form of intimidation,” he added.

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