The Director General of Progressive Governors Forum, Mr. Salihu Lukman has described as unfortunate the strikes frequently embarked on by Resident Doctors and health workers which according to him always leads to avoidable deaths of patients in the country.
He made this known in a press statement released on Sunday in Abuja, urging stakeholders to as a matter of urgency do everything possible to nip the ugly trend in the bud, he stated that health sector is such an important one where a special legal restriction should be on labour action considering its effects on human life as NERD is a very critical pillar of healthcare delivery services in hospitals whose absence always result in shutting down of hospitals across the country.
“The challenge before the nation is not about lamentation. It is more about creatively finding solutions. It is worrisome, that Nigerians could easily justify why strike actions are taking place in essential service sectors such as health. There is the need to appeal to all Nigerians, not just political leaders, we need to all take steps to stop the current madness in the country whereby we can resort to actions that consume human lives. If the argument is that we have problems created by our political leaders, we should ask the question, is our actions solving the problem or creating new ones?
” Ministers of Labour, Health and all stakeholders must as a matter of urgency lock themselves in the most qualitative form of negotiations with all workers in the health sector to restore some minimum standards in the sector. This is not simply about negotiating terms and conditions of services of health workers in the country. It is more about creatively ensuring that these are sectors that are essential services sectors with commensurate benefits that is beyond monetary provisions.” Mr. Lukman said
He noted that the issues of over centralisation and institutional capacity to manage, regulate and facilitate negotiations and agreements is likely a major challenge of Nigeria’s labour relations.
“The issue of over centralisation will continue to create challenges largely because the negotiation between workers’ and employers’ organisations are no longer informed by empirical reality of resources available. There is a mindset in the country that government has all the resources required to implement agreements. Most Nigerians, including leaders of workers’ organisations and their members believe that the problem is that the resources are being diverted by political leaders. The consequence is that almost all collective bargaining negotiation end up as power contest between workers’ and employers’ organisation.” He pointed out
Mr. Lukman also stated clearly the need to ammend the Nigerian 1999 Constitution where each state and federal can independently define the Labour conditions and agreements that suit them.
“In the end, priority attention must be given to the issue of redefining Nigerian federalism to ensure that labour issues, including negotiations for wages and terms of conditions of services and resolving all challenges that come with it are moved to the concurrent list of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended. A situation whereby terms agreed with Federal Government are used for state government employees will always create problems of implementation” The DG PGF reiterated.