The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has said the Federal Government was not in a position to order banks not to disengage staff.
It said the directive last week by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, to banks to halt further sack of its workers was faulty.
Ngige gave the directive last week following the sacking of over 1,400 staff by two banks.
NECA, through its Director General, Olusegun Oshinowo, said over the weekend that it was not in the place of Ngige or the Federal Government to issue such order.
NECA, therefore, told banks, financial institutions and other employers of labour to ignore the directive.
Oshinowo said the country’s labour law did not empower Ngige to issue such a directive.
He said the directive was only populist, but uninformed.
He said: “The minister seems not to have shown understanding of the fundamentals of industrial relations and labour laws in Nigeria and thus has acted ultra vires.
“Employers have rights, which include the right to hire and fire, within the rules governing such employment contract and are employers’ prerogatives, which are not subject to ministerial directives.
“Where an employer has found it necessary to carry out retrenchment, it would respect the laws of the land and the laid down procedures for redundancy.
“Employers’ expectation from the Minister of labour and employment is that he will work hand in hand with other government ministries in the establishment of the desired enabling environment to ensure business sustainability, competitiveness and job creation.
“The Ministry of Labour and Employment is expected to respect the rights and interests of employers and workers alike on issues that relate to labour and industrial relations.
“For a long time, employers have been advocating that the Ministry should be headed by a technocrat in order to avoid the kind of disposition being displayed by the Minister, which tends towards populism and partisanship rather than professionalism.
“No employer would take pleasure in declaring redundant employees it had invested significant resources in developing over the years.
“Usually, redundancy exercise is foisted on employers on account of an unhealthy economy and the dynamics of the business, which often demands staff rationalisation.”