FG issues a labor-related warning to states

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The federal government has advised state governments to exercise caution when discussing labor-related concerns because these are covered exclusively by a list of laws that only apply to the federal government.

This was mentioned in the keynote address by Mrs. Kachollom Daju, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, on Thursday at the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meeting in Uyo.

Daju expressed concern that state governments were creating labor ministries and departments and enforcing laws and regulations that were similar to those created by the federal government.

As you are aware, Section 34 of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, places labor concerns on the exclusive list, reserving the Federal Government’s authority to legislate on labor-related issues.

Given the aforementioned, one of the important agenda issues scheduled for council’s debate is the rising trend where state governments are creating ministries and departments of labor and similar guidelines and policies to those produced by the federal government.

The Nigerian labor administration system is already unstable, and the trend is unhelpful and should be stopped.

The permanent secretary continued by saying that, with the elimination of the gasoline subsidy, a conscious effort needed to be made to bring the minimum wage into compliance with international norms.

She assured them of the ministry’s commitment to developing and improving the council within the constraints of the resources at hand and asked council members to see the meeting as their own contribution to nation-building.

The Director of Productivity Measurement and Labour Standards, Mrs. Juliana Adebambo, stated in her opening remarks that the NLAC, as the highest tripartite body on labor matters, periodically reviews the operation of all labor legislation and provides recommendations on any modification or amendment that it may deem desirable.

Adebambo continued, “With the ratification of the ILO Convention on tripartite consultation between government, employers, and workers’ organizations at all levels, the role of the council was formalized into Nigeria’s labor practices.”

She continued by saying that this has made sure that the nation has a strong, functional, and extensive social dialogue system that adheres to worldwide best practices.

Festus Osifo, the president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), encouraged the government in his goodwill message to make sure that agreements made during collective bargaining are carried out to preserve industrial harmony.

Osifo, who was represented by First Deputy President Tommy Okon, said: “Council must note that it is not setting up a committee that matters; it is not the resolutions of the committee that matters, but implementation of the outcome of collective bargaining agreements.”

No organized labor will wish to strike, Osifo continued, because handling industrial crises is expensive.

As of right now, Nigerians are aware that organized labor has attempted to give the government a chance to live up to its promises. “We are waiting,” he stated.

The TUC president asked the government to adopt the 3Es principles of modern industrial relations practice, which have to do with Energy, Environment, and Economy. He emphasized that if they were put in place, there would be an increase in productivity, which would put an end to industrial crises.

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