Resident doctors and health workers in Nigeria will get their salaries for the month of September and October 2021.
This is after President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Federal Ministry of Finance to release their withheld salaries.
The Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed this to State House correspondents after a meeting with the President before his trip to Istanbul.
Ngige explained that the wages seized on the premise of the no-work, no pay-rule following strikes embarked upon by the Joint Health Workers Union had been approved by the President to be released to the health workers on compassionate grounds.
According to the Minister, “The President graciously approved that we pay back some funds, some wages, which we did not pay health workers.
“First, section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act says that when a worker goes on strike, especially those on essential services, the employer can also refuse to pay. That is what they call it the ‘No work, no pay rule’.
“But these health sector workers, doctors, pharmacists, nurses and members of JOHESU are trying to make sure that we create an equitable environment for them to function.
“As a first step, Mr President last week directed the Minister of Finance to release the funds of the resident doctors for September and October 2021, which was seized in conformity with the law.
“In the same vein, the approval also covers members of the JOHESU who went on strike in 2018 for three months.
“After the first month, after March, when they couldn’t come back, we asked that their pay be suspended. This is in tandem with the ILO principles at work.
“You have a right to strike, but the employer has a right to stop your remuneration and, if possible, use it to keep his enterprise going by taking new hands, where possible, especially in essential services.
“So, that same money for 2018 April and May, Mr President has again approved that the Finance Minister pays them on compassionate grounds.
“This is predicated on the grounds that this group of workers have been showing a lot of dedication and concern to the COVID-19 pandemic and that their Hazard Allowance for 2021 had remained what it was before.”