Labour Minister Frowns At Reductions In Workers’ Pay, Work Hours

Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige
Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige flanked by leaders of the Organised labour

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has warned state governors against reduction in workers’ pay and hours of work.

This was contained in a statement by Samuel Olowokere, the Deputy Director Press in the labour and employment ministry.

The minister said the warning was necessary to restore industrial harmony and forestall breakdown of law and order.

He cited an example with the industrial crisis between the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC; the Trade Union Congress, TUC and the Nasarawa State Government.

Ngige said he was intervening in the Nasarawa State labour dispute, pursuant to the powers invested on him by section 5(1) and (2) of the Trade Dispute Act, Laws of Nigeria, 2004, and also due to the fact that governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State had written to the labour ministry, seeking for conciliation.

The minister said that all parties in the dispute had been invited for a crucial meeting on Wednesday by 2 p.m. at the Ministry of labour.

He also directed “the unions to suspend the proposed picketing of government offices and demonstrations.

“I enjoin all parties to maintain the status quo ante pending the outcome of the meeting intended to resolve the issues in dispute.



    Ngige also advised state governments “to always negotiate any issue that touches on the salaries and wages of workers” in order “to ensure that they obtain a Collective Bargaining Agreement (BCA) before these remunerations are tampered with.”

    On the issue of arbitrary reduction in the hours of work, the minister said it was “against the International Labour Organisation (ILO) regulation; Convention 1, which had been adopted and domesticated by Nigeria.”

    According to him, “the law prescribes eight hours of work in a day and not more than 40 hours in a week.”

    Ngige said these measures should be put in place “in order to avoid unnecessary industrial relations disputes that could be averted through proactive dialogue.”

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