Nigeria: Ngige Resolves Industrial Dispute in Ministry of Health

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, has resolved the lingering industrial dispute in the Federal Ministry of Health.

A statement issued by Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja on Saturday said matter was resolved at a reconciliatory meeting hosted by the minister in Abuja on Friday.

The statement was signed by Mr Samuel Olowookere, the Deputy Director, Press, Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The statement said that Ngige prevailed on labour unions in the Ministry of Health to shelve their industrial action and allow the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Amina Shamaki, to return to duty.

It said the parties in the dispute also agreed to take relevant actions to resolve pending issues that led to the protracted dispute.

The statement said the minister has called for a review of some previous agreements reached among the Federal Government, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), and other labour unions.

The statement said the minister made the call when the newly elected NMA executives, led by the President, Prof. Mike Ogirima, paid him a courtesy visit.

The statement quoted Ngige as saying that some of the agreements were not implementable and added that the proposed review had become necessary in view of dwindling government revenue.

“I have gone through previous agreements with past administrations and discovered that because budgetary provisions were not made for so many of the resolutions, government finds it difficult to implement them.

“I will, therefore, advise that previous agreements be revisited so that those that are practicable would be implemented now.

“The NMA should engage in constant interface with its affiliate bodies to achieve a holistic review of all previous agreements in a manner that reflects the nation’s current economic situation.

“We must face the reality that government earnings have plunged to about 25 per cent of what they were under previous administrations”, the statement quoted Ngige as saying.

Ngige, the statement said, urged the association to restore the nobility of the medical profession “for which civilization rated doctors as being next to God.”

It said that Ngige raised concern over a recent comment by the NMA president that the image of Nigerian doctors had fared badly.

“Some of us hardly abide by the Hippocratic oaths that we took. Time calls for a new beginning. This new NMA executive body has a big task ahead”, he said.

The statement said Ogirima assured the Federal Government of the continued support of the NMA, saying the association had keyed into the Change agenda of the present administration.

“NMA is not a labour union, we are a professional body and that is why when the NLC called unions out for strike recently we did not join because we render essential services”, the statement quoted Ogirima as saying.

The statement stated that Ogirima requested that the NMA, being the parent medical association in the health sector, should be part of future negotiations involving its affiliates.

Source: Leadership