As the Health Authorities and the striking doctors continue to bicker, an appeal has gone to the striking National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to obey the ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC) ordering its members to return to work and negotiate outstanding issues of disputes through social dialogue with the relevant health authorities.
The Director General/Chief Executive Officer ( CEO) of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Comrade Issa Aremu made the appeal at week end in Ilorin on Saturday at the sideline of the monthly “Keep-fit- for Work” walk out by the management and staff of the Institute. This is contained in a statement signed by Dr Lawal Moshood, the Technical Adviser to the Director General.
Resident doctors across public health facilities in Nigeria have been on strike for over 40 days citing several reasons, that included delays in the payment of salaries and allowances and the payment of COVID-19 treatment allowances in the absence of death-in-service insurance.
The strike which coincided with a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country had worsened the nation’s health related deaths and complications.
Comrade Issa Aremu described the weekend order of the National Industrial Court as “a win- win ruling” which he said gave both the health authorities and the striking doctors “an ample opportunity” to suspend all forms of hostilities and maintain the status quo ante. He therefore urged National Association of Resident Doctors ( NARD) to return to negotiation table and
ensure an agreement “that is binding all parties”.
“ Doctors have the right to appeal, even go as far as the Supreme Court, but in the world of work, court judgements are zero- sum game with winners and losers and attendant death toll with respect to the present strikes. Both the doctors and health authorities should strive “not for court judgements” but for “Industrial justice”, which can only come through negotiations and compromises at negotiation tables” Aremu said.
The Director General said it was time all stakeholders took advantage of the labour education services at the Institute adding that the current doctors’s strike “was preventable, and avoidable ” if there was sufficient knowledge about industrial relations by all the parties, with respect to sanctity of collective agreements, social dialogue and compromises.
In continuation of the hearing on the case brought against the doctors by the Federal government on Friday, Justice Bashar Alkali of the NIC ruled in favour of the government and ordered the striking doctors to resume work. In last year alone, medical practitioners were on strike three times over demands for allowances for treating COVID-19 patients and increment in basic salary.
In a related development, the Director-General/CEO Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies Com. Issa Aremu had urged employers of labour and organized unions to take advantage of dispute resolution mechanism for harmonious and healthy working relationship. He spoke at University of Ibadan at the interactive session with participant at the Institute’s workshop “Sustainable Industrial Harmony and Productivity”.