A group, Centre for Labour Studies, has expressed support for the industrial strike action embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to press home its demands from the Nigerian government.

The group also condemned the application of the Section 43 against the striking doctors by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.

This was contained in a press statement by CLS signed by Femi Aborishade and obtained by SaharaReporters on Tuesday.

Ngige had claimed that ‘no work no pay’ would be applied to the doctors who are on strike because they did not provide the official 15 days’ notice. 

However, in the statement, CLS stated that no individual had monopoly of the interpretation, adding that the clarifications would be done by the Supreme Court.

The statement reads, “The Centre for Labour Studies (CLS) unequivocally declares support for the striking medical doctors organized under the National Association of Resident Doctors.

“The threats of ‘no work, no pay’ and dismissals (being issued to the striking conscientious medical doctors), have no basis in law within the context of holistic interpretation of Section 41(1), Trade Disputes Act (TDA) and Section 30(6)(b) & (c) of the Trade Unions Act, TUA.

“The law as established by the apex Court is that statutes should be given holistic interpretation, not subjective, one sided interpretation, to achieve a purposeful end (See NURTW & Anor v. RTEAN & Ors (2012) LPELR-7840 (SC).

“Section 41(1) of the TDA only requires workers in essential services to give 15 days’ notice before strike. It does not absolutely prohibit strikes by workers in essential services. The NARD gave more than 15 days’ strike notice. The demands are not new.

“Section 30(6)(b) & (c) of the TUA allow strikes within the context of the NARD Strike.”

The group also revealed what the International Labour Organisation said about the matter.

“According to the ILO, in its publications, dispute of rights is a dispute concerning the violation of or interpretation of an existing right (or obligation) embodied in a law, collective agreement or individual contract of employment. At its core is an allegation that a worker or a group of workers have not been afforded their proper entitlement(s),” the statement revealed.

It went further to say that, “The demands of the NARD are essentially over violation of existing rights to pay, poor pay, non-payment of salaries and allowances, violation of fundamental contractual terms and existing collective agreements, including threats of removal of some category from the payroll.

“Within the provisions of the law which allow strikes over dispute of rights, provided 15 days’ notice is given, it would be unjust, inequitable and unsustainable for the law to allow application of Section 43, TDA on “no work, no pay”.

“The threats being issued to the striking doctors are therefore mere products of impunity, abuse of office and insensitivity to the plight of the poor and the sick who are bearing the brunt of the strike forced on the doctors.

“We call on the medical doctors to continue their strike, which is aimed at salvaging the collapsed healthcare system for the benefit of the masses. We equally call on the NLC, TUC, workers and their organisations, and the downtrodden Nigerian people to support the NARD strike.”

 

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