Thursday, March 31, 2011

Doctors ordered to end all strikes


NATIONAL Court judge Justice Catherine Davani yesterday ordered the executives of the National Doctors Association (NDA) to follow last Friday’s court orders and cease all strike actions until the issues are dealt with in court, The National reports.
“The court order is very specific and very clear for the defendants to be restrained from carrying out further strike actions,” Davani said.
The court was told that the executives of the NDA had failed to comply with interim restraining orders that were obtained by state lawyers last Friday and served on the NDA executives at around 6.30pm the same day.
A contempt proceeding on the doctors’ failure to comply with the court order was filed by the state and would be heard today following a ruling on whether or not the restraining order remained.
State lawyer Sam Koim yesterday submitted that a memorandum of agreement (MoA) was signed by the NDA and the departments of Health and Personnel Management (DPM) on Jan 12, 2007, over benefits for doctors throughout the country.
He said the matters relating to the MoA were addressed through a subsequent agreement signed between the parties under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Jan 11 last year.
Following that, all outstanding matters were implemented except for a new log of claims which were yet to be lodged with DPM which, effectively, was preventing formal negotiations from taking place.
In his submissions, Koim also highlighted the failure by the doctors’ executives to meet with the heads of DPM and Health when requested to prior to last Friday’s strike action.
He also pointed to the refusal by the industrial registrar early this month for a secret ballot on a proposed strike to be conducted by the NDA, simply because there was no dispute and no evidence of a fresh log of claims.
In addition, the state argued that a similar view was expressed by the Public Services Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration tribunal.
The doctors were now into their sixth day of strike.
Based on these arguments, Koim submitted that the restraining order should continue.
He also revealed to the court the verbal abuses and threats he allegedly encountered when serving the court order.
Defending counsel Tai Yai of Kange Lawyers argued in a brief submission for the restraining orders to be set aside.
Yai argued that the doctors had resorted to the strike action over frustrations and dissatisfaction aimed at their employer, who had failed to honour the January 2007 MoA.
He also pointed to a court order of Jan 4, 2007, which the DPM and Health had failed to satisfy.

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