The Nigerian government has said it will drop all legal charges against the striking resident doctors if they suspend their industrial action and resume.
The federal government also noted that it will meet all the demands of the doctors but insisted that the no-work, no-pay policy will be implemented.
Doctors in Nigeria under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have been on strike for over four weeks over what they termed “irregular payment of salaries”, among other issues.
Recently, the industrial court had restrained members of NARD from continuing with the action, after the federal government filed a suit against the association.
That order was not obeyed as resident doctors continued the strike amid the threat of a no-work, no-pay rule issued by the federal government.
“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,” Nigeria’s Minister for Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige said on Sunday.
His comments on the development were shared after his meeting with the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Out of their 12-point issues raised in their demands, we have done all, we have come to agreements on all, including those that even affect the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria and medical doctors who are in academics and teaching universities,” the minister said.
“So, we have handled it all, the only point of disagreement now is that they said that the agreements and the memorandum of action that Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act will not apply to them.
“That section says that 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.
“That’s why overseas and in other climes, you don’t see strikes getting more than three days or four days or five days, highest. They only do picketing and things like that, because people’s lives are involved.”
By Abel Ejikeme