The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has vowed to take decisive action against striking doctors next week.
It was reported that the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is currently on strike based on the Federal Government’s failure to honour an agreement with them.
Despite efforts to make NARD perform a U-turn, the association has refused to back down on its industrial action.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday night, Ngige accused NARD of not officially informing him before embarking on its current strike.
He stated that his son and daughter who are practising doctors have been warned to stay off the ongoing strike which he described as “nonsense”.
According to the minister, he will invoke his powers against the doctors if they continue with the strike.
Ngige said: “Next week I’ll escalate this issue because reconciliation has failed.
I won’t meet them anymore because I have other things to do. I did two conciliations yesterday. Am I going to be wasting my time with them?
I have other tools within the labour laws and I will do it. I invoked Section 43 of the labour laws this afternoon. I have communicated it to NARD. They will not receive money for the period they are on strike and it will never count as a period of pensionable position in their career.
Even the International Labour Organisation supports it because they render essential services. They are not supposed to go on strike without notifying me 15 days before the day of strike.
As we speak, I have not received any notification that is why I am invoking Section 43 of the Labour Act on withdrawal of services, right to strike and the right to protect the employer and their patients.
Things will happen next week. Let them wait because they are taking government for a ride and it is wrong. They are playing with lives.
My children are medical doctors and I have warned them not to be part of this nonsense strike.”
On if the federal government could cope without the doctors when there are rising cases of COVID-19 and diarrhea, Ngige said the government has everything under control.