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Complaint Commission vows to arrest, prosecute firms promoting anti-labour acts

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt 
14 November 2022   |   2:28 am
Federal Complaint Commission has set up an enforcement team to clamp down on companies operating anti-labour laws. This disclosure came as the National Industrial Court of Nigeria called for a review

Federal Complaint Commission has set up an enforcement team to clamp down on companies operating anti-labour laws.

This disclosure came as the National Industrial Court of Nigeria called for a review and amendment of the Nigeria Labour Act, adding that some of its provisions do not match current realities.

The developments were disclosed in Port Harcourt at a town hall meeting organised by the Public Complaints Commission and the National Assembly, for the South-South zone, on Systemic and Proactive Investigation into Non-Issuance of Employment Letters by Private Companies registered in Rivers State.

Federal Commissioner, Rivers State, Paul Omebi, who disclosed this, said the issue of administrative injustice by companies treating their workers unkindly was key to the Commission, regretting that it has received complaints from people engaged by employers without any valid documents to prove that there is a relationship between them and the company.

He disclosed that the commission, in collaboration with the judiciary, has also set up special courts to speedily handled issues relating to employment.

Omebi said: “Some companies fall foul of the law and think they can go free. In collaboration with the police, the PCC now has an enforcement unit where those who refuse our summons will now be dealt with directly. Where the need is they will be arrested and tried.

“There is even provision for zonal courts, courtesy of our collaboration with the judiciary. It is not just waiting for the regular courts now. 

“The judiciary will set up a special court that will deal with such issues where people are not doing what they should do. This gives us the opportunity of speedy hearing of such cases and it has increased our confidence.”

MEANWHILE, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Rivers State, has called for an amendment of the labour law to reflect the current situation on the ground.

The Administrative Judge of the Rivers State branch, who was represented by Abidemi Amimaseun, said there was a need for an amendment of the Labour Act to capture the current happenings in the labour sector.

He regretted that many firms were taking advantage of the lacunae in the act over their employees, adding that the act if amended would guide against the oppression of workers.

“Our labour law should be amended to make a clear provision on the non-issuance of employment letters from the employer to the employee.

“When we have a clear law on this, it should help litigants coming to court, at the same time, the right of the employee will be properly safeguarded.

“We have observed the triangular concept of employment, where it appears people are employed and transferred to another company. 

“We understand that employment is either oral or through a letter of employment. When it comes to oral. There is evidence in commemorations of the employment like payment slip. There is a need to amend the Labour Act. The law does not match the current realities,” he said.