NLC, Minister Clash Over Use Of ‘Warning Strike’ 

 


By Yekeen Nurudeen

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has berated the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris  Ngige over his comments on the use of ‘warning strike’ and threat to invoke the  No Work No Pay clause against workers who embark on warning strike.

The Labour umbrella body in its reaction to the Minister’s statement insisted that warning  strikes would  continue to be part of its engagement with all employers including government, when necessary.

A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by the General Secretary of NLC, Peter Ozo-Eson, noted that the Labour center was taken aback by the claims of the Minister.

It argued that unions in all civilized countries use warning strikes as “bargaining device” to bring to the negotiating table, recalcitrant employers or social partners.

The Congress added that it is a tradition that has acquired the force of law stressing that warning strikes have had the distinguishing feature of saving the parties to disputes the  rigours, costs and pains of full-blown strikes.

The statement reads : “We are taken aback by the claims of the Honourable Minister.

“Accordingly, we find it necessary to state that whether warning strike is in the corpus of the  Nigerian Labour Laws or not,  unions over the years across all climes use warning strike as a bargaining device to bring to the negotiating table, recalcitrant employers or social partners.

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“In other words, it is a tradition that has acquired the force of law.

“The efficacy of warning strike cannot be in doubt as it  is the reason why the government, led by the  Honourable Minister himself is now negotiating with ASUP executives.




     

     

    “In the annals of labour history, warning strikes have had the distinguishing feature of saving the parties to disputes the rigours,costs and pains of full-blown strikes.”

    The statement wondered why Ngige will canvass a position that “is at once extreme and intolerant of further dialogue which is the mainstay of Labour-Government relations.”

    The labour union said it was necessary “caution that a hasty  resort  to legalese as a basis for conflict resolution will not be helpful”.

    Labour further stressed that if strikes  were guaranteed by the law, “we do not see how warning strikes can be illegal.”

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