By Ugo Aliogo

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has stated that plans are underway by the federal government to recruit more labour inspectors to boost compliance with regulations at workplaces.

Addressing journalists in Abuja recently, Ngige described the initiative as a vital area of labour administration, which has suffered inadequate funding.

The minister decried the fact that there was shortage of labour inspectors because they are often times not replaced as the aged ones were exiting the service.

He added, “As at today, we have only about 100 Labour Inspectors across the country. While we are recruiting labour inspectors to bridge the gap, we are also training the existing ones.”

Ngige hinted that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) was collaborating with Nigeria on the inspectors’ train-the-trainers programme.

He also revealed that the government had purchased safety equipment and other tools labour inspectors need to ensure that companies, shopping malls and business concerns complied with the law.

“Labour inspection is done in two ways. The first is to ensure that the jobs that are done are decent in accordance with the Decent Work agenda of the ILO. “Under this, we examine the staff strength, no casualisation of staff and that workers are not maltreated under any guise. The second aspect is the safety of the workers,” he stated.

“We have been fighting against indiscriminate sack of workers not only in the telecommunication sector, but also in the oil and gas and banking sectors.

“Government will always insist that workers can only be sacked if the jobs are not enough to go round and must also provide evidence of that and they must also negotiate with the affected workers on the manner of exit which must be based on ‘first to come, first to exit’ principle.

“If the unions notice that any employer fail to comply with this and report to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, such employer would be in trouble,” he added.