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FG moves to end industrial rift in Kaduna State

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Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment PHOTO:Twitter

The Federal Government has inaugurated a 10-man committee to resolve the industrial dispute between the Kaduna State Government and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Speaking during the inauguration of the committee in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said President Muhammadu Buhari was desirous to return industrial peace to Kaduna State.

The Committee, headed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr. Peter Tarfa, as the Secretary to Kaduna State Government, Balarabe Lawal and Deputy National President of NLC, Najim Hashim as co-chairmen.

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The Director, Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mrs. O. U. Akpan would serve as secretary.

Ngige said the Federal Government had apprehended the strike in Kaduna State in May, with the parties signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to restore peace, noting that intervening circumstances made the reconstitution of the committee inevitable.

Ngige said the committee was expected to resolve all the issues in dispute between the Kaduna State Government and the NLC.

The Minister, who acknowledged that the issues in contention bordered essentially on trade disputes, gave the committee a timeframe of 21 days to round off and report back.

He charged the ecommittee to resolve the issues holistically, and be guided by the 1999 Constitution as amended, as well as the Labour Laws of the Federation.

Ngige said downsizing or rightsizing of the workforce in any organisation, government or private sector must be subjected to principles spelt out in the Trade Disputes Act, Laws of the Federation 2004 Cap L1.

He said the employer has the right to reduce his organisation’s staff strength but was bound by law to negotiate redundancy payment to any discharged worker, adding that nothing was wrong with Kaduna State Government stopping an expenditure of  96 per cent of its earnings on personnel cost to save enough for capital projects. “ But, it must, however, be done within the ambit of the law. ”

Lawal said Kaduna State was not at war with Labour and assured that the rift would be settled amicably.

The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba assured of Labour’s commitment to resolve the impasse in Kaduna.

“I pray that it should be the last dispute between Labour and Kaduna State Government. This is a Labour matter that can be resolved and should be resolved,” he noted.

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