Nigeria labour space is in quagmire as it stands today, with resident doctors downing tools and University lecturers not teaching. This has seen many students roaming around and patients who are in need of critical treatment turned back or abandoned on their hospital need with dead tolls rising as a result. This situation has gotten industry watchers disturbed and also it has encouraged capital flight. Monies are spent on overseas tuition and healthcare.
Series of industrial actions over the years have dampened the confidence Nigerians have in the local universities. Parents are trying to source for foreign exchange to send their kids oversea for University education and treatments of ailment are been done in India and other countries due to the singular fact that Nigerian medical space has lost the confidence. This is the long term effects that industrial action has impacted on the critical sectors of the economy – education and healthcare. Confidence has waned in these critical sectors.
Linus Ukamba ,an ex-member of industrial arbitration panel said that in a chat with channels TV crew. He made this known to people that when compared with other countries of Africa even West African countries.
Procedural agreement has been stated that most of the unions haven’t given enough respect to this agreement. Embarking on industrial action should be the last result. There should be a procedural agreement between the employee and employers. The union knowns when to knock on the door for negotiations. That is the normal procedure, he added.
Pertaining to health sector, he said that people felt that things are picking up, that’s why they have gone on strike . He said that the resident doctors matter would be resolved. 2009 agreement is part of the grievances of ASUU. The government role in industrial relation is dual which is making the law and implementation, but it has been noted that the government has no negotiation team and this is what has hampered the industrial relation.
He also opined that ,”the government looks at the labour issues as a jamboree! A trade union is a legal body and can be sued”.
The issue of resident doctors strike is worrisome. It must be said that the a resident doctors as a body can sued if people die in hospital due to negligence. This is a third party litigation. There is no basis for a doctor to abandon a patient on an operating table.
The resident doctors can push their matter through industrial arbitration panel and if they don’t get favourable judgement they can move to industrial court. The legality of the strikes can’t be ascertained.
The role of the National Assembly is crucial. They can capture this in the budget and their oversight functions. They must ensure that these monies are paid. ASUU should have access to budget and lobby so that whatever that is been owned to them should be paid, said Linus.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu