The Federal Government is ready to withdraw the case instituted against the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) if striking doctors return to work. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said this on Sunday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“I have briefed Mr President, we have agreed that they should come back to work and if they come back to work, we can take other things from there. We will withdraw the case in court, Ngige said.
“So, this is where we are with them and we are saying that even if anybody cares to put it in any agreement, that clause will be void ab initio because it’s against the law of the land and we will not, as a government, succumb to undue arm twisting and then go and sign that.” The Minister explained that some workers had lost their pay during previous strikes (under the “no work, no pay” rule) and the same punishment will be meted out to the striking doctors if they refuse to resume.
“Other workers have lost their pay during strikes; the Joint Health Systems Union (JOHESU), they lost their pay in 2018 when they went on four months strike; they lost about two or three months’ pay when the no-work, no-pay rule was invoked,” the minister said, adding that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) suffered the same fate last year.