Nigeria Government Orders Stoppage of Striking Doctors’ Salaries

Nigeria’s federal government has commenced the implementation of the no work, no pay rule on striking doctors with effect from Monday August 2, 2021.

In a letter dated Friday, August 27 and signed by the Director of Hospital Services Department in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, it directed all the Chief Medical Directors and Managing Directors of federal government’s tertiary health institutions to commence the implementation of the no work, no pay rule on the doctors that are on strike and on any health worker that may join the strike subsequently.

Resident doctors under the auspices of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had vowed to sustain the ongoing nationwide industrial action until their demands were met by the federal and state governments.

The doctors, who are protesting the alleged non-implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement it reached with government in December 2020, said that the federal government and some states owed their members salary arrears ranging from seven to 19 months.

The striking doctors had earlier refused to sign a Memorandum of Understanding brokered by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and the President of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, which gave specific timelines for addressing the doctors’ demands.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC), held in Benin-City, Edo State, NARD expressed disappointment that Abia, Imo, Ekiti and Ondo states still owe its members several months’ salaries.

The communiqué, signed by the president of NARD, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi said after a critical appraisal of the issues affecting their members, as well as the exparte injunction obtained against it by government, the association decided to continue the strike.

However, a letter addressed to the chief medical directors and managing directors of federal tertiary health institutions, titled : “Re- Law and Principles Concerning the Right to Strike; Application of Section 43 (1) (A), of the Trade Union Act Cap T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (no work, no pay), states in part: “We are in receipt of a letter from the Minister of Labour and Employment informing the minister of the laws governing the ongoing strike by the members of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the need to immediately apply the provisions of section 43 (1) (a) of the Trade Union Act on special provisions with respect to payment of salaries during strikes and lock outs, known in labour parlance as “No work, no pay” with effect from Monday, August 2, 2021 when the strike by NARD members commenced.

“Consequent on the above, I am directed to inform you to commence the implementation of the no work, no pay, policy on the striking doctors, with effect from Monday August 2, including other health workers that may embark on strike subsequently.

“You are to compute the financial implications of the no work, no pay rule from the salaries of the resident doctors and any other health worker that participated in the strike, using the attached template and forwarded to the IPPIS office, through the Federal Ministry of Health for implementation.”

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

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