By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Employees in Nigeria have been urged to adhere strictly to national and international labour laws when dealing with matters affecting their employees.
This appeal was made the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, while speaking at a reconciliatory meeting convened by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC); and the Nasarawa State Government in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mr Wabba said employers of labour in both the public and private institutions must obey these laws to avoid industrial disharmony.
The NLC had planned to embarked on a nationwide protest this Tuesday against the recent killing of two workers in Nasarawa State North- central Nigeria by security agents.
The NLC had also planned to protest against the Imo State Government’s new employment policy in the South- east of the country.
Mr Wabba said, “It is imperative for every employer of labour to have a grasp of the International and national labour laws in order to appropriately apply it in addressing labour issues.
“Nigeria has labour experts across the 36 states of the federation including the FCT, which these employers can easily have access to necessary information as it concerns wage and labour issues.” He stated that when employers of labour adhered to labour laws, it would restore industrial harmony and forestall breakdown of law and order.
The NLC president noted that labour had agreed to postpone all issues of industrial protest in Nasarawa State in order to allow for dialogue by stakeholders.
“Labour is open to dialogue and we also believe in due process in resolving the matter. But I want to say that there is a limit to the patience.
“The matter on ground is already five weeks old and I do not know how much time we need to wait for the workers that were killed to get their justice,“ the NLC President said.
He, however, commended the Minister for his intervention, saying that labour was ready to collaborate with the ministry to ensure that the matter was amicably settled.
The Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige, called on labour to suspend the proposed picketing of government offices and demonstrations nationwide for the good of workers and the country.
The Minister, also apologised for the absence of the representatives of the Nasarawa State Government, saying there was a communication gap between the Ministry and the State Government.
He warned State Governors not to reduce the remunerations and hours of work of the employees without proper negotiation on any issue that would affect the salaries and wages of workers.
“We must reconvene this meeting on Tuesday, August 30, so that all parties will be available to fashion out the way forward in restoring peace and harmony in the State,” Ngige said.
TUC Deputy President, Mr August Etafor, commended the Minister for his intervention and assured him that they were open to the reconciliation meeting.