The Federal Government has disclosed that it has concluded plans to reconvene a conciliation meeting as part of its commitment towards ensuring that the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) suspend its ongoing industrial action across the country.
It explained that the meeting scheduled for today was in furtherance of its efforts in addressing the remaining two out of eight demands listed by the association and ensure both parties are on the same footing for normalcy to return.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said that the government conciliation meeting would be attended by NARD members, Federal Ministries of Health, Finance and Budget and National Planning on Wednesday at the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Through a statement released by the ministry’s Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Charles Akpan, Ngige said that since the government had already addressed six out of the eight demands listed by the association, it was imperative that the doctors end the strike and return to work.
He argued that it was unprofessional for doctors to continue with the strike when a high percentage of the association’s demands had already been addressed, saying when issues are being conciliated, all parties are to shun arm-twisting methods in line with Labour Laws and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions.
“This is coupled with the existence of a pending case in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) instituted by two Civil Society groups against NARD, the Attorney -General of the Federation, and the Ministers of Health, and Labour and Employment. NARD has no reason to embark on industrial action,” the statement read.
Furthermore, he maintained that despite lean resources occasioned by the effect of COVID-19 on oil output, the federal government had already spent N20 billion on the Special Hazard and Inducement Allowances for Medical and Health Workers for April, May and June 2020, with outstanding payments to some health workers for June 2020.