Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige yesterday reminded trade unions that there was nothing like warning strike in the nation’s industrial relations circles.
In a statement he personally signed last night, Ngige warned that the government might be forced to invoke the no-work and no-pay rule on striking workers.
The minister said in accordance with the nation’s labour laws, “a strike is a strike and is subject to all the rules governing strike in the world of work”
He appealed to members of the non-teaching workers of universities to call off their five-day warning strike and embrace the channels of dialogue already opened by the government.
Ngige said the government was committed to the resolution of issues affecting the workers, adding that a meeting called by the government to discuss the issues had to be rescheduled at the instance of the unions.
The statement reads: “I wishes to appeal to the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non – Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), who have jointly declared intention to embark on a five-day warning strike effective January 16, 2017 to suspend action in the interest of the nation.
“I wish to assure that the Federal Government is ready and willing to fully dialogue with the members of these trade unions, operating under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee. Government has already opened an unhindered channel of communication with all stakeholders and shall maintain this.
“Today (Monday January, 16, 2017), I convened a meeting of all stakeholders in dispute for us to ventilate all issues and reach amicable settlement. Unfortunately, the trade unions requested for a different date, and the meeting is now re-scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, 2017.
“The Federal Government, therefore, expects that the trade unions should suspend the strike before the re-scheduled meeting to make way for untrammeled discussions.
“It is important for trade unions to embrace social dialogue in the pursuit and attainment of the economic and social interests of their members anchored on equity and natural justice.
“I hence thought it necessary to remind the trade unions that there is nothing like a “warning strike” in our National Industrial Relations System (NIRS) – a strike is a strike and is subject to all the rules governing strike in the world of work.
“Accordingly, the provisions of Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act, CAP. T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004, will apply regarding the law of “no-work and no-pay by workers/employees, notwithstanding any other circumstances in any section of the Act.”
“Once more, I wish to appeal to the trade unions to embrace dialogue as the Federal Government is fully committed to peaceful resolution of what the unions termed ‘Full Implementation of 2009 FGN/Non-Teaching Staff Union’s Agreement’.