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FG cautions against reducing workers’ salaries, work hours

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

The Federal Government has urged state governments to halt ongoing paycuts and reduction in hours of work.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who spoke yesterday in Abuja at a reconciliation meeting with Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nasarawa State government over the killing of two workers by police during a protest, said state governments lacked authority to interfere with workers salaries.

His words: “I wish to also say that reduction of hours of work, which has started to creep into Labour lexicon by some state governments is not within their powers. I wish to make it clear that the status, conventions and regulation of the International Labour Organization (ILO) made it very clear that the hours of work daily is eight and that of the week is 40 hours. Therefore, any work performed outside of these recognized hours must be paid for because the Nigerian constitution makes provision for equal work equal pay.

“It has, therefore, become necessary that we draw attention of all concerned to this regulation so as to avoid unnecessary industrial disputes, which ordinarily could be averted through proactive dialogue with stakeholders.”

To forestall a repeat of the dispute of the type that erupted in Nassarawa in any state of the federation, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, advised governments to negotiate any issue that touches on salaries and wages of workers to ensure that such action conforms with the spirit of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) before workers’ salaries are tampered with.

Ngige said the determination of the minimum wage rested squarely with the Federal Government and not states.

“The issue of minimum wage flows down from Minimum Wage Act 2011. It is a matter that is on the exclusive legislative list. Determination of minimum wage is placed on the Federal Government and not on the state government,” he explained.

The meeting could not hold because the Nasarawa State deputy governor, who was billed to lead the state delegation was away to Kaduna to attend an All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors Forum meeting. The meeting was, therefore, rescheduled for Tuesday, August 30, 2016.


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