Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Wednesday, restated federal government’s stance on the new minimum wage.
He spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister said the N24,000 per month stands, a figure the organised labour has kicked against.
He said that once minimum wage was fixed, any organisation or state that had the capacity to pay more could do that.
Ngige cited that Edo, Delta and Lagos states paid their workers more than the current N18, 000 national minimum wage.
He disclosed that FEC approved the implementation of the no-work, no pay principle when workers go on strike in the federal public service.
The minister said that the technical committee, which was inaugurated on April 27, 2016, did their work and submitted to the FEC in Oct. 2017.
“FEC in turn, empanelled a committee of ten which I chaired to do a government Draft White Paper on those contentious areas that the technical committee had looked at.
“These contentious areas are enforcement of section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act Law of the Federation 2004; this is the section that deals with lockout of workers by their employers without declaring redundancy appropriately.
“Because in some establishments, especially in the private sector, workers are locked out by their employers; so the law there says that if you lock your workers without passing through the normal channel-due process.
“For the period of the lock out, the worker is assumed to be at work and will receive all the remunerations and allowances, benefits accruing to him for the period and that period will also be counted for him as a pensionable period in the computation of his pension.
“But when workers go on strike, the principle of no-work-no-pay will also apply because that principle is enshrined in the same section 43 of the Labour Act,’’ he said.
According to Ngige, the section says that for the period a worker withdraws his services, government or his employers are not entitled to pay.
The minister said that under the section, the period for which the worker was absent would not count as part of his pensionable period in the public service.
Ngige added that the issue of public servants remaining permanently in the executive bodies on trade unions was discussed.
His words: “Government realises that some persons in the public service go into trade union executive positions; hold offices; and they do that for life; for as long as they are in the service.
“In doing so, they will refuse postings and deployments under the guise that are doing trade union activities; government says no.
“You have to be a public servant first before you become a trade unionist; therefore, if you are there; the public service rules will also apply to you.
“And in furtherance to this, government has also said that there must tenure stipulations because people stay there without tenure; many organisations give people union positions without tenure; government says there is no office that does not have tenure.’’
Ngige said that trade unions, henceforth, should present constitutions that must have tenures; at least, maximum of two tenures for any elective position.
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