STRIKING members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors have said that they may shift ground on their ongoing strike that started on August 2 if they see signs that the Federal Government will honour agreements and clear some outstanding payments.
The outstanding payments the association is expecting the government to settle before they can consider ending the strike include death benefits of members who died during COVID-19 pandemic and salary arrears among others.
It was further learnt that the leadership of NARD and that of the Nigerian Medical Association would be meeting the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Friday in continuation of efforts to end the strike.
Our correspondent gathered that the issue of review of hazard allowance will feature prominently in the Friday meeting.
An earlier meeting NARD and NMA had with the minister on Tuesday was said to have been postponed due to the failure of both parties to agree.
When contacted on the telephone on Wednesday, NARD’s Secretary General, Jerry Isogun, confirmed the development to our correspondent.
However, the Federal Government and NARD on Wednesday told the National Industrial Court, Abuja that they were open to negotiations in order to end the ongoing strike action.
They disclosed this to Justice Bashar Alkali when the matter came up in court.
The counsel for the resident doctors, Femi Falana (SAN), prayed the court to direct the parties to return to the negotiation table.
The counsel for the Federal Government, Tochukwu Maduka (SAN), responded that the matter at hand was of a special breed.
He told the court that the parties were earlier sent to an industrial arbitral panel, but the arbitral process failed.
However, Maduka told the court that the Federal Government was still open to negotiations.
Consequently, the court fixed its ruling on the ongoing dispute between the Federal Government and the resident doctors for September 17.
Falana had raised the issue of the court’s jurisdiction and had sought that his application challenging the court’s jurisdiction be taken.
But Maduka stated that the issue of contempt had yet to be taken and argued that the issue of contempt should take precedence over the issue of jurisdiction.