NLC cautions FG on resident doctors’ sack

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LAGOS – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday urged the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to consider the consequences of its ongoing nationwide strike on Nigerians.

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Mr Issa Aremu, NLC Vice President, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Aremu, who faulted the Federal Government sacking of resident doctors, said the current health challenges of the nation and West Africa made it illogical for resident doctors to abandon their duty posts.

“We also in labour must re-look at our methods. Yes, strike is one weapon to pressure, but there are other methods that are more effective and less dysfunctional.

“I should also caution the doctors that the task in hand now is to fight Ebola not to strike, not to abandon work for whatever reason.

“They (doctors) need different approaches to different problems, their demands are not about pay, not that they are denied pay.

“They want more funding and new policies, that is not dispute of right, for dispute of right, you have legitimacy to go on strike. [eap_ad_1] “But dispute of interest, new things,  you need different approaches,  and when you have an approach that people are no more giving you sympathy, then you have to relook at that approach.

“Strike cannot be a cap that fits all heads; strike does not cure all problems; for dispute of interest I think that they should have better approach rather than this.

“And it does not make sense that because you are on strike, a cancer patient dies under you; you are on strike an accident victim cannot be attended to, that is no more strike.“

Aremu, who is also the General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, said that the sacking of the resident doctors could only worsen the nation’s health challenges.

“In the case of the health sector, the doctors’ strike, government got it wrong to sack the doctors; it is completely wrong.

“I thought the challenge in the health sector is that we must sack Ebola not to sack the doctors that will address the problem.

“So, I think government should get its priority right, let’s sack the new epidemic ravaging all of us, don’t sack the doctors that will make it possible.“

The labour leader also said that the increased dangers in the nation’s health system made it imperative for government to float a sustainable life insurance cover for all medical workers.

Aremu also said that the resident doctors’ dispute required the cooperation of all stakeholders in the nation’s health delivery system to engender growth and job satisfaction.

According to him, the current challenge of Ebola Virus Disease is an opportunity for stakeholders to overhaul the nation’s health delivery and evolve an approach to national and regional epidemic.

He urged the government to always respect agreements reached with labour, stressing that the increasing number of strikes across the nation stemmed from government nonchalant attitude to agreements. (NAN)

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