Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, has formally referred the trade dispute between the federal government and the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to the National Industrial Court for arbitration.
The PUNCH reports that NARD and the Federal Ministry of Health were informed about the development on Thursday.
Ngige had given the striking doctors till Wednesday to convene a meeting of its National Executive Committee to brief its members on the efforts of the government to resolve the strike.
“Whereas, trade dispute has arisen and now exists between the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors and the Federal Ministry of Health/Federal Government and whereas, efforts to promote settlement through conciliation were on-going but had now failed, court papers signed by the minister said.
“And considering the facts that members of NARD, who are classified as essential services workers/employees had embarked on strike on Monday, August 2, 2021, over the issues under conciliation, contrary to the provisions of section 18 of the Trade Disputes Act CAP T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, after attending a Conciliation and Agreement Review meeting on July 22, 2021, and further considering that the Federal Ministry of Health claims to have and produced evidence to have met most of their demands based on the various Memorandum of Action reached during past conciliations especially that of July 22, 2021
“Now, therefore, I, Senator Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, in the exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 17 of the Trades Disputes Act, CAP T8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, hereby refer the matter for consideration, and the issues in dispute to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria for adjudication.”
Ngige was also said to have attended the meeting of the Medical Elders Forum, comprising practising and retired senior medical practitioners, where he explained the efforts made by the federal government to address NARD’s demands.
The minister reportedly appealed to the medical consultants in hospitals who doubled as teachers in medical colleges not to join the ongoing strike as threatened by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
Meanwhile, NARD, on Friday, described the federal government as being wicked for not meeting its members’ demands, leaving them with no other option than to embark on the ongoing strike.