The Joint Action Front (JAF) condemns the unlawful and unwholesome action of Raji Fashola government of Lagos state in the so-called sack of all the doctors in the employ of the state government. We call on the state government to immediately and unconditionally recall the doctors and meet all the demands which they went on strike for.
The action of the state government constitutes a grave violation of labour laws and international conventions on the freedom of association. The sack of doctors clearly contravenes the decisions and principle of freedom of association committee of the governing body of the international Labour Organization (ILO)
The relevant adjudicated judgments state inter alia:
(661). The dismissal of workers because of a strike constitutes serious discrimination in employment on grounds of legitimate trade union activities and is contrary to Convention 98
(662). When trade unionists or union leaders are dismissed for having exercised the rights to strike, the committee can only conclude that they have been punished for the trade union activities and have been discriminated against.
(663) Respect for the principles of freedom of association requires that workers should not be dismissed or refused re-employment on account of their having participated in a strike or industrial action. It is irrelevant for these purposes whether the dismissal occurs during or after the strike.
For the avoidance of doubt, section 628 states as follows:
“Responsibility for declaring a strike illegal should not lie with the government but with an independent body which has the confidence of the parties involved.”
Therefore, the Lagos state government does not have power to unilaterally declare the strike of doctors illegal.
Let it be stated that Nigeria is a signatory to the freedom of Association and Protection to Organise Convention (1948) and also Convention 98 (The right to organize and collective bargaining Convention (1949)
We stress that the Lagos state government should be held responsible and liable for the death of Lagosians arising from its refusal to meet the demands of doctors and its disregards for the right of doctors to strike.