The Federal Government has faulted the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) rejection of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed on March 31 in spite of meeting the demands of the association, according to Ngige.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said this in a statement by Mr Charles Akpan, Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations of the ministry on Saturday, April 3, in Abuja.
EagleReporters had reported that the resident doctors had threatened to commence strike on April 1; alleging that the Federal Government had reneged in the agreements entered with the doctors.
The aggrieved doctors’ agitations include the non-payment of salaries of three to five months of some house officers; and non-recruitment of house officers.
Others are abolishment of the bench fees for doctors undergoing training in other hospitals; non-payment of National Minimum Wage and hazard allowances.
Ngige said that the government was faithful to the agreement entered with the aggrieved resident doctors by the President of NARD, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesu.
Ngige said that the Federal Government had substantially met the demands of NARD.
He explained that some of the demands by NARD were made in error as some of the issues were already conciliated and implemented a hundred per cent.
He, however, said that the outstanding issues which came up at the last conciliation were timelined along a month life span of implementation, adding that they were still a work in progress.
The minister, however, faulted the unilateral repudiation of the MoA by NARD’s President; describing it as unknown in labour negotiation.
“He did not participate in most of the discussions last Wednesday; because he fell ill not quite after the meeting started and had to excuse himself.
”He handed over to his deputy, the Secretary-General and other officers of the association, who fully participated. We spent seven hours and by the time we put our signatures to the papers; it was eight hours.
“Disowning the MoA duly negotiated is unknown to labour. The two parties to the negotiation signed the MOA. Four officers from the government and three from NARD signed the document.
”The president who was not at the meeting but fully represented by deputies went to NARD’s NEC; and disowned the paper because they were signed by his deputy and secretary-general.
”There is what is called transmission of power. He as the President fell sick and his deputies continued with the meeting. That’s allowed,” he said.
Ngige said that it was wrong for NARD to impose a fait accompli on the Federal Government while the negotiation was ongoing.