The Federal Government, FG has ordered all chief medical directors in teaching hospitals across the country to open attendance registers in order to prevent doctors participating in the National Association of Resident Doctors’ strike from receiving pay.
Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, the President of NARD, confirmed the order yesterday.
“The government is determined to implement the no-work-no-pay order,” a senior health official told PUNCH. In all hospitals, attendance registers will be opened as of tomorrow. Everyone will be paid based on attendance.” Recall that NARD resumed its strike on Monday last week after the Federal Government promised to meet its demands, which included payment of the residency fund, Covid-19 allowance, hazard allowance, and outstanding salary shortfalls.
Before resuming their strike on Monday, the doctors claimed that the Federal Government had failed to implement the Memorandum of Understanding that had been signed with them after their previous strike had been suspended for more than 100 days.
Despite the efforts of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to ensure that the Medical Residency Training Funds are included in the supplementary budget, they claim that the Federal Government has failed to distribute the funds to their members.
The strike brought tertiary hospitals across the country to a halt, as consultants left to care for patients were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of patients.
The Federal Government announced on Friday that it had invoked Section 43 of the Labour Act’s “no work, no pay” rule.
Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, a current affairs program, saying that the government had communicated its position to the leadership of NARD.
“We are aware that they are going to bring down registers tomorrow,” the NARD President said in an interview with PUNCH yesterday. We are aware that they have discussed this with the chief medical directors. We are aware that they have sent a circular to all teaching hospitals about no-work, no-pay.
“We don’t know if they’ve responded to our ultimatum. What have they done to persuade the younger generation to return to work when they have not responded to our Memorandum of Action signed on March 29 and April 9? So, these are the major concerns.
“You’re in government, and you want to discipline a child. You beat the child, but you still hold his mouth shut so he doesn’t cry out. You had 116 days since you signed a time-bound Memorandum of Action with a six-week deadline, but it will be 117 days tomorrow and you have done nothing. Will you continue to bully your child because you haven’t paid them in months and want to impose a no-work, no-pay policy?
“He (Ngige) has already written to the chief medical directors of hospitals, and we are aware that they are already invoking the no-work-no-pay policy,” Okhuaihesuyi said.
Okhuaihesuyi said the alleged threat by the Federal Government to fire NARD members if they do not resume this week was a positive development.
The President of the NARD argued that anyone hired by the federal government would automatically become a member of the organization.
He also wondered where the government would find doctors to replace the 16,000 NARD members who had already completed their training.
“I don’t see how they’re going to replace someone who’s been in training for three to five years with someone who knows next to nothing. “Anyone who is hired as a resident doctor is automatically a member of our organization,” Okhuaihesuyi said.
He also mentioned that his organization had been invited to meet with the House Committee on Health on Monday (today).
“The chairman of the House Committee on Health, Dr Tanko Sununu, has invited us to meet with him in Abuja on August 9, 2021,” he said.