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Avoid Reducing Workers’ Pay And Work Hours – Ngige Warns

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SAN FRANCISCO, August 24, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has warned state governors against reducing the hours of work and remunerations of workers in order to avoid breakdown of law and order.

This was contained in a statement issued by Samuel Olowokere, Deputy Director, Press in the Ministry, declaring that the minister said the warning was necessary to restore industrial harmony following the protracted industrial crisis involving the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nasarawa State Government.

The minister said the step was pursuant to the powers invested on him by section 5(1) and (2) of the Trade Dispute Act, Laws of Nigeria, 2004 adding that he received a letter from Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State for the Ministry to help resolve labour crisis in the state.

“Sequel to this, I hereby direct the unions to suspend the proposed picketing of government offices and demonstrations,” the statement read.

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

“Similarly, to avoid further escalation of disputes of this type all over the states of the federation, state governments are hereby advised to always negotiate any issue that touches on the salaries and wages of workers.

“This is in order to ensure that they obtain a Collective Bargaining Agreement (BCA) before these remunerations are tampered with.

“I wish to add for the avoidance of doubt that the issue of minimum wage flows out from the Minimum Wage Act, 2011.

“The law must be respected by all in both public and private institutions. The law prescribes eight hours of work in a day and not more than 40 hours in a week.

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

Story by David Oputah