The National Association of Resident Doctors has suspended its ongoing nationwide indefinite strike. The NARD President, Dr .Muhammad Askira, said the doctors would be resuming work by 6am on Monday
Askira said the association took the decision due to the intervention of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
In a communiqué issued in Abuja on Sunday, Askira stated that the association would review the agreements reached with the Federal Government at its National Executive Council meeting in July.
He said, “In view of the genuine intervention of the Speaker and other key stakeholders, NARD hereby suspends the ongoing nationwide indefinite strike so as to enable the government to implement the agreements reached within the agreed time frame on or before July 14, 2016. Work will resume from Monday, June 27, 2016 at 8am.”
The Federal Government had ordered the sacking of striking resident doctors last week Tuesday after they commenced an industrial action.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, in the circular also directed the chief medical directors and medical directors of all the government-owned tertiary health institutions to replace doctors who didn’t resume work.
Meanwhile, allied workers in the health sector under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions have said they will resist any attempt by the government to sack them for going on strike as was the case with resident doctors.
While describing as “laughable” the declaration by the Federal Government that their ongoing strike was illegal, they also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore the agitation for the privatisation of government hospitals and outsourcing of health services in the country.
The health workers warned that such move would provoke more crises in the health sector. The union described those pushing for the privatisation of hospitals as persons who had “completed arrangement with western financiers to buy over the hospitals so that they can take Medicare out of the reach of the poor and the vulnerable.”
The National President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Biobelemoye Josiah, and President, Assembly of Health Care Professionals Association, Dr. Godswill Okara, stated this in a joint statement on Sunday in reaction to the declaration by the Federal Government that their ongoing strike is illegal.
JOHESU said, “And, the only way you can bring harmony is bringing into play a fair, balanced top management team, where one should be a medical doctor, the other should be from other health professional groups, while the Permanent Secretary should be a seasoned administrator, who can sit as an umpire to bridge the sector and balance every package for the government.
“The employment of workers into government has procedure. And, as established employees, you don’t just wake up and be sacking people on the pages of newspapers or from the television. If someone has done a wrong thing, there is procedure.
“The public service rule provides the procedures. We are carrying out our legitimate action under the Labour Act. We are given the power to embark on strike. Strike is not illegal in the Act. It is one of the ways we express our grievances, though we are very reluctant to do that. That is why we have been waiting since February till now.”
By: Olokor and Bukola Adebayo
The Punch News
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