…urges Labour to ensure full compliance to minimum wage implementation
Ukpono Ukpong, Abuja
The Workman Society of Nigeria has commended the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige for his tireless efforts at ensuring a peaceful industrial milieu necessary for optimum national productivity.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the Chairman of the group, Mohammed Ibn Yunusa and Secretary , Cyril-William Jaja said that notwithstanding the recent faceoff between the Minister and the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) over the Chairmanship of the board of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) of which the Presidency has absolved the Minister of any wrongdoing ,
the positive engagement of the Minister with all the social partners in the last four years of the Buhari administration has yielded enormous dividends that could not be ignored.
The group said the synergy which the Minister fostered with the social partners comprising the labour unions and the organized private sector in the Buhari Change era, has been of immense benefit and yielded multiple dividends for Nigeria, regretting that the recent imbroglio in the tripartite community over the NSITF was an overcast on the towering efforts of the Minister.
“ Under a competent Minister of Labour and Employment, the Buhari Change Era made a remarkable difference in Nigeria’s labour administration.
It met Nigerian workers who were hungry and restive with months of unpaid salaries and allowances and immediately released bailout funds to the states.
Even under the recession, the Federal Government sacked none of its workers and through prudent management, recruited thousands of Nigerians into its ministries and agencies.
Any previous government in the circumstance of the Buhari Change Era would have placed an embargo and sack workers ,” it said.
The group similarly commended the Minister for intervening and bringing the captains as well as union leaders in the Petroleum, Construction and Financial sectors to a discussion table in 2016 where they reached separate agreements that stemmed massive job sack in the sectors .
It added, “the Minister will be remembered as one that changed national focus from the dwindling white collar jobs to the limitless opportunities offered by blue collar world.
Apart from revitalizing skills acquisition centres scattered across Nigeria, he standardized their training programmes and enhanced the Trade Test Certificates to an international status.
We commend him for further developing a programme with the European Union under which qualified skilled Nigerians could migrate and work in Europe.
We recall that he also partnered the International Organisation on Migration to establish a Migration Information Centre in Benin City , Edo State in order to tackle illegal migration at the roots.”
The group also recalled that the administration met an age long, seemingly intractable issues leading to perennial strikes by unions such as ASUU, NASU, JOHESU, NARD, NMA, NUNPENG, PENGASSAN among others, saying that the Buhari government did not only settle these issues but also paid off decades- long arrears of allowances owed to federal Civil Servants.
It further thanked the Minister for bringing Nigeria back to reckoning in the International Labour Organization (ILO) with a deputy and now a titular seat on the Governing Board after over decade in limbo, while moving Nigeria from point zero to the Deputy Chairmanship of the Africa Regional Administrative Centre (ARLAC)
In the same vein, it commended the three labour centres in the country, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) the Trade Union Congress (TUC ) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) for standing tall in defence of the welfare of the Nigerian workers.
Paying special tribute to the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Waba for his numerous spirited struggles on behalf of the workers, especially his dogged resistance to attempts by State Governors to derail the recent National Minimum Wage negotiation, it urged him to ensure the compliance of all tiers of government towards its faithful implementation.