The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige says it is illegal for doctors to expect the federal government to pay them for services they did not render after vacating their duty posts.
Ngige said this while hosting the chairman of the Forum of Health Institutions in Nigeria (FCHIN), Sam Jaja in Abuja on Saturday.
“The doctors want that] section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act should not apply to them. That we should insert in a government agreement that they should be paid for the period they are not at work. I’m being careful about this,” the minister said.
“This is law and I will not lend myself to illegality, to state in the agreement that a group of Nigerians are above the law. But as a matter of fact, a clause in that agreement states clearly that nobody should be punished for participating or not participating in the strike.
“So what else do they want ? They want me to put in writing that they are above the law. That “no work, no pay” policy should not apply to them. That the “no work, no pay” is no more part of our law, despite the fact that I swore to uphold the constitution?
“This is notwithstanding that a clause in the agreement says that no one should be punished for any role in the strike,” Ngige added.
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on an indefinite strike on August 2, 2021 over poor welfare, irregular payment of salaries, among other issues.
Since then, efforts by stakeholders, including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the national assembly, to mediate between the federal government and the resident doctors have failed.