Ngige: FG may truncate strike
Paul Obi in Abuja
Following the intervention of the federal government, the Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, on Tuesday agreed to pay compensation to the families of the workers who lost their lives and those injured during a protest by labour in the state on July 29, 2016, in accordance with the Employees Compensation Act.
The decision was sequel to the reconciliatory meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, between the Nasarawa State Government and the organised labour.
The governor who was represented by the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Yusuf Usman, stated that the state government would invoke no work, no pay policy on the workers for July and August 2016.
He said the state government had since the begining of the crisis maintained the status quo, adding that both labour and the state government need to work harmoniously.
The state government also agreed to pay the shortfalls of the salaries during which the contentious new salary scale was implemented to the workers.
The meeting which commenced late yesterday evening, failed to reach a consensus on the July and August salaries, prompting the postponement of the meeting to today.
Meanwhile, the minister said he would discuss the issue with the governor in order to get the state government’s commitment on the payment of July and August salaries which the workers insist must be paid since it was the state government that spearheaded the crisis.
Ngige explained that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had frowned at the situation in Nasarawa State and in consonance with his power, mandated him to intervene with a view to resolve the crisis.
“Moreso, when the issue has resulted in the loss of two lives, Mr. President has frowned at this situation and in consonance with the duty of the president as the chief custodian of industrial peace, he has asked me after reading the communique of the emergency meeting of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) National Executive Council in Lagos, to do the needful so that we can get peace back to Nasarawa State.”
The minister said the gathering was government first move of consiliatory meeting, adding that, “it has become necessary because the in-house mediation has failed.
Ngige described the death of two workers during the seeming demonstration in Nasarawa State as unfortunate.
He said the federal government team, headed by himself will listen to the officials and government of Nasarawa State, take their brief and all supporting document, after which it would meet with the NLC and TUC in the same way.
He said: “If we discovered that the workers do not take procedural steps to embark on strike, it has its own penalties” We will appreciate the strike, the Trade Union Act give me the power to apprehend the strike. I am sure that after this, we will get peace back to Nasarawa State.”
The minister pledged that he would not support any party at the detriment of the other, “we will thread on the path of truth,” he said.
The NLC president, Comrade Wabba and the TUC President, Comrade Kaigama commended the approach the government adopted to ensure peace and solution to the lingering crisis.
Wabba explained that employment is a contract where both employers and employees have their rights.
The NLC president regretted that it was unfortunate that the state government allowed the. crisis to get to this level, saying that the NLC and TUC at the national level had tried to nip the crisis in the bud without success.
“All of us must therefore subject ourselves to rules and regulations. It is a dispute of rights not of interest. It is on issues that border on remuneration. We pledged that the organised labour will cooperate. We are committed to the process and the laws,” Wabba stated