Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige justifies federal government action to withhold salaries of health workers

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Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige says the federal government withheld salaries of health workers who embarked on strike in 2018 because the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention allowed employers to hold back salaries of workers on essential services anytime they withdraw their services.

Ngige also said that by the oath of the medical profession, professionals are not supposed to embark on strike because the services they render have to do with human lives, which if lost cannot be regained.

The Minister over the weekend, said the government did not apply the same policy on the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) because the lecturers can recover lost ground by teaching extra hours.

He also said the Minister of Education did not write to request for permission from his Ministry in accordance with the law requesting for permission to apply the no work, no pay rule.

While the government was yet to pay the salaries of health workers on the platform of the Joint Health Sector Unions for the period of April and May 2018 when they were on strike, they failed to apply the same rule on the striking lecturers, withdrawing the notice barely 24 hours after it was issued.

THENATION/BEN