The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has disregarded threats by the Federal Government to invoke the ‘no work no pay’ rule if the union continues with its strike.
Aliyu Sokomba, the NARD president, described the government’s threat as “empty and the biggest joke of the century,” saying that the doctors are not intimidated and will go on with the strike until their demands are met.
The Federal Government threatened to invoke the rule on Tuesday, a day after the NARD began an indefinite strike over the failure of the government to meet their demands.
Among several other reasons, the doctors said they went on strike over unpaid salaries, non-payment of hazard allowance, and a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals.
Shortly after a meeting between officials of NARD and Federal Government ended in disagreement, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, directed all medical directors in all public hospitals across the country to open a register by 7 a.m. from Wednesday and record ‘‘those who come to work and those who fail to come to work.’’
The management of the Lagos State Teaching Hospital, in a circular issued to all heads of clinical departments and resident doctors on Wednesday, said it will apply appropriately, the ‘no work, no pay’ rule of the Federal Government.
Responding to the threat, the president of NARD, while saying that the union was expecting such a response from the government, stated:
Instead of them to address our demands, they are resorting to cheap blackmail that they will implement no work no pay and sack doctors, is that not the joke of the century from a government that is not truthful? We are not moved.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian labour minister, Chris Ngige, had claimed the government has already begun meeting the doctors’ demand.
He said the new hazard allowances are being paid to all categories of frontline health workers involved in COVID-19 treatment in batches.
But on Wednesday, the NARD president described Mr Ngige’s claims as ‘lies’.