According to Labour Minister Chris Ngige, President Muhammadu Buhari‘s administration would no longer accept industrial strikes that do not adhere to the law. “Especially during the transition period of the current administration,” he adds.
On Thursday, the ministry of labor released a statement revealing this.
Shortly after receiving a “Award of Excellence” from the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) during its 42nd Annual General Meeting/Scientific Conference, the minister made the remarks.
Mr. Ngige stated that a committee at the federal health ministry was already working on that as NARD demanded a review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) wage structure and the correction of “minor errors” in the circular on the upward review of the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), non-taxation of the call-duty allowance, and complaints about the non-payment of the new hazard allowances to house officers.
“It (committee) will swing into action next week to dialogue with the resident doctors and members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU),’’ stated the labour minister.
Mr. Ngige emphasized that since the government had set up a framework to resolve the physicians’ concerns, there was no need for them to threaten to strike.
“The federal government will no longer tolerate a strike that does not pass through due process. Any group that embarks on strike will be visited with section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act (TDA), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004,” added the labour minister. “It says that when a worker goes on strike, especially those on essential services, the employer can also refuse to pay compensation or wages which accompany work done.”
He insisted that the due process of a strike “is that social dialogue negotiation with employers should be explored first” and “in the event of failure,” the labour ministry should be notified and, “finally, a Trade Dispute Notice (TDN) served.”Mr. Ngige recommended all resentful unions to follow the lead of the physicians and start proactive conversations with the federal government as opposed to calling a strike.
The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission is working on an upward review of the Medical Residency Training Fund, according to the labor minister (MRTF).