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NUPENG to Begin Solidarity Strike with Sacked Lagos Doctors on Tuesday




The ongoing crisis in the Lagos State Health Sector is on the verge of expanding into a national labour crisis as the National Union of Petroleum and Gas [NUPENG] has directed all workers in the Oil and Gas sector to embark on an indefinite strike action, beginning from Tuesday May 29, 2012.

In a circular sent out to all Oil and Gas employees in Lagos State yesterday, NUPENG leadership identified the strike as a way of showing solidarity with the sacked Lagos Doctors.

Comrade Tokunbo Korodo, Lagos Zone Chairman of NUPENG, described the strike the union is to embark upon as ‘solidarity democracy strike’, stating that only Lagos State Oil and Gas stations will be shut down during the action.

The ongoing crisis in the Lagos State Health Sector is on the verge of expanding into a national labour crisis as the National Union of Petroleum and Gas [NUPENG] has directed all workers in the Oil and Gas sector to embark on an indefinite strike action, beginning from Tuesday May 29, 2012.

In a circular sent out to all Oil and Gas employees in Lagos State yesterday, NUPENG leadership identified the strike as a way of showing solidarity with the sacked Lagos Doctors.

Comrade Tokunbo Korodo, Lagos Zone Chairman of NUPENG, described the strike the union is to embark upon as ‘solidarity democracy strike’, stating that only Lagos State Oil and Gas stations will be shut down during the action.

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“We have resolved that if by Monday, Lagos State Government fails to reinstate all the sacked Doctors, we shall embark on Solidarity democracy strike where all operations of Lagos State alone will be shut down together with all filling stations, tanker drivers and all Oil and Gas workers will be sitting at home in Lagos until Doctors are recalled back to their duty”, he declared while confirming NUPENG’s stand to us. 

All health workers in Lagos have also commenced a solidarity strike in sympathy with their sacked colleagues in the state.

The feud between the Lagos State Government and the grieving doctors has a history dating back to 2009, when Doctors in the State demanded implementation of the policy of Consolidated
Medical Salary (CONMESS).

The Lagos State Government opposed this. Several warning strikes and a subsequent indefinite strike were embarked upon by the doctors, snowballing into government’s move to sack all 788 of them.

During a warning strike in 2011, the National Industrial Court (NIC) sitting had ruled that the doctors had the right to embark on a strike action in pressing home their demand, but it became a different ball game recently when the Lagos State Government said it sacked its 788 Doctors who had embarked on a strike action in April.

The doctors took their grief to court, but on Tuesday when the trial was to commence, the Lagos Government requested that the NIC strike out the matter, first contending the legal status of the Medical Guild in filing a suit on behalf of the sacked doctors, and then challenging the jurisdiction of the NIC in entertaining such suit.

On Thursday, the court dismissed the arguments of the State Government, validating the capacity of the plaintiffs, Mr. Olumuyi Odusote and Mr. Idris, to file a suit on behalf of the Medical Guild.  The court also upheld its jurisdiction over the matter.

NUPENG’s decision to embark on an indefinite strike action to show solidarity with the Lagos doctors may attract other labour unions in the State into similar industrial action, as mediation efforts, including those by the Nigerian Medical Association and the Nigerian Bar Association, have failed.

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The matter in court between the doctors and the State government will begin in June.
 

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