Owing to incessant strikes, Federal Government has incicated plans to, henceforth, enforce the ‘no work, no pay’ rule.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige said the law is still subsisting.
The minister, who noted that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions are subject to local laws of countries, said the organisation specified strict punishment for workers that go on strike, especially bordering on essential services.
He said: “There were certain industrial matters that were looked into today in council. Council had earlier directed the SGF to set up a technical committee on industrial relations matters in the Federal public service.
“This committee was set up precisely on April 27, 2016. It was chaired by the SGF and co-chaired by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation. Members were Chairman of National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science and Technology, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and they produced a report.
“This report was all encompassing and council looked at it today.
“First and foremost, the report emphasised the need to implement the law on “no work, no pay’. The ‘no work, no pay’ is not a rule, neither is it a policy. It is a law captured on trade disputes Act of the Federation.
“Section 43 to be precise says that workers have a right to disengage from an employer if there is a break down in discussions or negotiation. But for the period that the worker does so, the employer should not pay and those periods are to be counted as non-pensionable times in the period of work.”So council today re-emphasised that that law is still in situ and that it should be brought to the knowledge of workers in the public and private sector, especially those in the public sector.”
According to him, the Federal Government took the decision because of the spate of industrial crisis Nigeria has suffered in the last two months.
He said: “When we had plethora of strikes all over the place, so council has said this should be re-emphasised to workers so that they will know.
“Meanwhile, for the strike embarked upon the last time, we will see what we can do about that because there is a law in place.”
He said the council looked at the situations where some workers are permanently doing union activities.
“Secondly, council looked at another recommendation in terms of people who are permanently doing union activities. They are presidents of trade unions for life and they sit tight, criticise those who are trying to do third term or fourth term while they themselves are sitting tight.
“It was agreed that my ministry should continue with our work in terms of fishing out the unions that don’t have constitutions that prescribed time limit for their elected officers.
“Such unions should be made to comply with the law, so that people can be elected, they serve out their term and other people will take their place. That is democracy in action.
“Council also looked at part of the recommendation on Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), if an employer and employee have a dispute and reconciliate; the product of reconciliation is the bargaining agreement. Most times, those agreements are not signed, they are usually signed by wrong persons.
“So, council agreed with us that according to the labour laws, they should be signed and whenever issues of salaries and wages are involved, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission must sign, the Ministry of Labour must sign and the document domicile in the Ministry of Labour in consonant with Section 4 of the Trade Dispute Act.
“Finally, council has set up a small committee to look at the Yayale report and the white paper should be brought to council for final stamp.
“We presented another memo to council on diving at work regulation. Diving at work involves workers that carry out their task of work by diving into deep water to work. They are welders, fitters, plumbers, engineers of all sorts. We now have to make recommendations flowing from the Factories Act Cap F1 of the law of the federation of 2004.”
He said the essence of the regulations is to regulate those who go under water.