You can’t direct us, Employers tell Ngige
– NECA described as uninformed and populist the directive by Ngige that banks and financial institutions must suspend further retrenchment of workers
Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo argued that a minister does not have powers to give directive as dictated by Nigeria’s labour law. Oshinowo said the minister seems not to have shown understanding of the fundamentals of industrial relations and labour laws The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has told Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment that he cannot dictate to employers, especially as it relates to sacking workers. The umbrella body for employers in the country further described as uninformed and populist the directive by Ngige that banks and financial institutions must suspend further retrenchment of workers.
Director-general of NECA, Olusegun Oshinowo, argued that a minister does not have powers to give such directive as dictated by Nigeria’s labour law. Ngige had last week directed the immediate suspension of the on-going retrenchment in the financial services sector pending the outcome of the conciliatory meetings in the industry. He also noted that the labour laws had envisaged redundancy or retrenchment and that this was the reason for the provision of section 20 of the Labour Act. “The minister seems not to have shown understanding of the fundamentals of industrial relations and labour laws in Nigeria and thus, has acted ultra vires. “Employers have rights, which include the right to hire and fire within the rules governing such employment contract and are employers’ prerogatives, which are not subject to ministerial directives. “Where an employer has found it necessary to carry out retrenchment, it would respect the laws of the land and the laid down procedures for redundancy. “Employers’ expectation from the minister of labour and employment is that he will work hand in hand with other government ministries in the establishment of the desired enabling environment to ensure business sustainability, competitiveness and job creation.
“The Ministry of labour and employment is expected to respect the rights and interests of employers and workers alike on issues that relate to labour and industrial relations. “For a long time, employers have been advocating that the ministry should be headed by a technocrat in order to avoid the kind of disposition being displayed by the minister, which tends towards populism and partisanship rather than professionalism. “No employer would take pleasure in declaring redundant employees it had invested significant resources in developing over the years. “Usually, redundancy exercise is foisted on employers on account of an unhealthy economy and the dynamics of the business, which often demands staff rationalization,” he said. The country is groaning under a very tough economic condition with even governors unable to pay workers. In Ekiti, like few other states in the country, workers are on strike. The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, recently appealed to the Ekiti governor, Ayo Fayose, to pay striking workers their dues. Mr Wabba, in an open letter sent to the Premium times, highlighted the four major reasons for which the workers in the South-West state have been on strike.