FG to boost industrial harmony with labour advisory council
The recently inaugurated National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) will boost industrial harmony and reduce labour unrest amongst the three tripartite bodies, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said.
Inaugurating the NLAC, 2021-2025, in Owerri, the Imo State capital, Dr. Ngige, said the council would offer advisory services to the Ministry of Labour and Employment in labour administration, employment relations and labour productivity, the purpose for which the body was first established in 1955.
The Minister inaugurated the council on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented virtually by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Going down memory lane, Ngige revealed that after its establishment in 1955, NLAC’s role in labour administration was formalised into Nigeria’s labour practice with the country’s ratification of ILO Convention No 144 (1976) on Tripartite Consultation between public authorities and Employers’ and Workers’ Organisations at National and Industrial Level in 1994.
The Minister noted that the NLAC plays critical and stabilisation roles in promoting and ensuring the best practice of labour administration in line with international standards.
He also noted that the eventual passage of the Labour institutions bill into law would widen the scope and functions of the existing Council, adding that, “these functions and responsibilities if well performed will result in good industrial relations practice which is key to national growth and development.”
He urged the new Council to revisit the Terms of Reference of those three Committees to reconstitute the committees.
He stated that although the Council had been inactive, as no meeting had been convened since 2014, following the inauguration of the last Council in 2011, the Ministry had maintained a sound tripartite relationship with the social partners.
According to him, from 2nd to 4th March 2020 the Ministry collaborated with the Social Partners – the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) to review the draft National Labour Bills, which were withdrawn from the National Assembly for review and resubmission.
The Minister reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to improving and strengthening the country’s industrial relations system through social dialogue and ‘tripartism’.
Earlier, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr. Yerima Tarfa, noted that labour administration is confronted by several challenges, which include sectoral industrial unrest, particularly in the education and health sectors.
In his submission at the event, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who lauded the inauguration of the council, noted that having ratified ILO Convention 026 on the 16th June 1961 and operated the National Minimum Wage law since 1981, it is incongruous of the 36 states governors of the federation to be pushing for the movement of the law to concurrent legislative list.
Citing the existing national minimum wage in the United States of America and Germany, Wabba added: “The national minimum wage is implemented in more than 90 per cent of ILO member states. Many of the countries that implement it judiciously, 26 in number, including the USA and the Federal Republic of Germany (the biggest economy in Europe) practice federalism, some for more than 200 years. We cannot claim to be more catholic than the Pope.”
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