Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has urged resident doctors to call off their ongoing strike, expressing that embarking on industrial action amid the third wave of COVID-19, cholera outbreak in 22 states and a Marburg virus outbreak is unconscionable.
He also stated that the Federal Government would enforce the International Labour Organisation’s policy of no-work-no-pay should the doctors continue the strike, stressing that doctors would not be paid from taxpayers’ money for doing nothing.
He also denied threatening to sack resident doctors who withdrew their services nationwide since August 2, 2021, over alleged poor conditions of service.
He explained that all the engagements and consultations so far had been to appeal to them to call off the strike.
Ehanire stated this on Thursday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, during the 18th ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team.
The minister stated that most of the 12 demands raised by the striking resident doctors had been met by the government while the others were under the jurisdiction of states, and not the Federal Government.
Ehanire said, “We have said openly that this is not a good time for doctors to go on strike. We’re having a strike for the third time this year, which is not good. We have appealed to them. We have been having long meetings with young doctors to tell them that look, we have a certain responsibility to our country.
“Nobody threatened anything. We are just appealing; all of us are doctors, all of us went through the same residency. We’re saying this is not the time; let’s continue to talk about it. Do not put people’s lives at risk. That’s what the Minister of Labour has been saying, that is what the Minister of Health has been saying.”
When asked about the no-work-no-pay threat, the minister said, “Yes, but that’s a standard thing. That’s the International Labour Organisation recommendation that if you did not work, then why will you take?
“Your salary comes from taxpayers’ money. So, if you did not work, why should you be paid? Because if that is so you can be encouraged to stay home for six months and your salary is running from public funds, from taxpayers’ money, when you have not given the community any service.”
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