Labour minister appeals to workers to shelve strike

By Helen Shok’jok and Martha Obi

Chris Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to rescind its planned warning strike over the new electricity tariff in the overall interest of the nation.

He added that stopping the strike would also be an earnest commitment of the organised labour to the supremacy of the rule of law which the Buhari led Federal Government has amply demonstrated.

“The dispute over the increment in electricity tariff is right before the National Assembly and it is only right that as law abiding social partners that all parties afford the National Assembly to arbitrate. The Chairman of NLC is not here but this occasion offers a crucial avenue for me to state government’s position on this hot button issue,” he said.

The Minister advised investors in the power sector to provide a decent working environment for their staff as his Ministry would no longer tolerate unfair labour practices. 

Dr Ngige made the appeal in Abuja in his goodwill message to the 3rd Triennial National Delegates Conference of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC).

Speaking further, the Minister urged the Association to be committed to a productive change and the inculcation of sanity in the conduct of government business and hoped that the change mantra would instill discipline in Nigerians.

 He stressed that the dialectical relationship between capital and labour should be played down and minimized in order to enable a viable environment for sustainable development and growth of the nation devoid of industrial actions.

Dr Ngige said that in tandem with the theme of your conference this year, I must state that the Federal Government is concerned with good governance in all sectors of the economy and the subsequent expansion of the infrastructural and super-structural base of the Nigerian economy and this could be achieved by the Labour Movement ensuring industrial peace in the world of work through social dialogue with Social Partners.”

He re-stated the commitment of the  Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to provide a level playing ground for trade unions in Nigeria, and emphasized that Government would ensure the protection and welfare of workers.

Dr Ngige disclosed that the Federal Government had resolved to ensure the provision of regular electricity to Nigerians at an affordable rate.

“You are therefore called upon to support the government in its efforts to reposition and expand the power sector in Nigeria for effectiveness and efficiency, as every bit of support from each one of you is worthwhile,” he concluded.

In his remarks, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola stated that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to improve power supply and assured Nigerians that the worrisome situation would soon become a thing of the past.