ULC urges National Assembly to re-introduce bill criminalising non-payment of workers’ pay
The United Labour Congress (ULC) has called on the National Assembly to re-introduce the bill that criminalises the non-payment of salaries in the country.
This followed its quest to reduce the spate of strikes and industrial unrest by labour unions across the country due to failure to pay workers’ salaries at all levels of government, especially at the state and council levels.
The congress argued that if workers’ salaries were guaranteed, continuous strikes by trade unions would be reduced, while addressing the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and Federal Government’s concerns.
The group in a statement by its President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, explained that to ensure that strikes were totally eradicated in the country, they would partner with the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the National Assembly to ensure that the bill was re-introduced.
“All sources of strikes must be seriously engaged in Nigeria and Ngige should be at the fore front while we pledge our support as he seeks to criminalise unpaid salaries in Nigeria, which will help us reduce strikes.
“We advise the minster to realise that the tail does not wag the dog! It should be the other way round! The case of the nation’s industrial landscape cannot be different,” he said.
However, following Federal Government’s decision to pursue the ‘No Work No Pay’ option as solution for reduced strikes in the country, the union said the proposed action would fail unless urgent measures were taken to address precarious work conditions and increased welfare packages for workers.
The ULC accused Ngige of negligence about the plight of workers without recourse to the provisions of the law.
“Nigerian workers have reached a situation where they are even prepared to forgo all of the salaries to drive home their point rather than the slavish and hellish working environment, which we have constantly been exposed to.
“We had truly thought that the minister’s concern should have been to seek ways to ensure that those who deny workers their wages are severely punished as it is done in other countries to avert strikes, which Ngige seem not to worried about.
“We had thought that he should be worried that workers are owed up to seven months salary arrears and are still expected to go to work. We are surprised that he is not worried about the mass sack of workers from their workplaces without recourse to the provisions of the Law, to which the ministry ought to be the custodian and protector,” he added.
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