The minister of labour, Chris Ngige, issued the threat on Friday during an interview on Channels Television.
“By Tuesday, I will invite them back, If they become recalcitrant, there are things I can do,” Mr Ngige said.
“There are weapons in the labour laws I will invoke them. There is ‘no work, no pay.”
By Nigerian law, while workers unions are on strike, their members are still entitled to their full salaries. However, the government can choose to implement the ‘no work, no pay’ rule and stop paying the workers’ salaries if it believes the strike is illegal or unjustified. Although it had threatened striking workers with the rule in the past, it was rarely implemented and when done, was often reversed after the strike was called off or suspended.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) commenced an indefinite strike on Thursday despite meeting with a federal government delegation on Wednesday night.
“We commence strike 8 a.m. today while we are still trying to evaluate the federal government’s offer,” the president of the association, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday morning.
The decision was reached after NARD’s extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held last Saturday, according to the president.
He said the ultimatum given to the federal government to meet the association’s earlier demands expired on March 31, with no significant achievement.
The doctors are demanding, amongst other things, payment of all salaries arrears, review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries for all health workers, and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 allowance especially in state-owned tertiary Institutions.
“Immediate payment of all salary arrears including March salaries for our members in all Federal and State Tertiary Health Institutions across the country especially ASUTH, IMSUTH and UNIMEDTH,” the president said.