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FG set to implement controversial section of Trade Disputes Act: What this means for workers

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FG set to implement controversial section of Trade Disputes Act: What this means for workers

The Federal Government is set to implement a law which will deprive government workers of their salaries whenever they embark on industrial actions.

Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity, disclosed this at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.

Not a new law: Although, this provision is contained in the Trade Disputes Act, its implementation had, prior to this time, not seen the light of day. And the federal government wants to capitalise on this to regulate industrial actions in the country.

“The ‘no work, no pay’ is not a rule, neither is it a policy. It is a law captured on Trade Disputes Act of Federation.”

What this means: If successfully enforced, any worker who participates in any industrial action will not be paid for the duration of such industrial action and that period of strike will not be pensionable.

“Section 43 to be precise says that workers have a right to disengage from an employer if there is a break down in discussions or negotiation. But for the period that the worker does so, the employer should not pay and those periods are to be counted as non-pensionable times in the period of work.”

According to Ngige, the ‘no work, no pay’ rule formed part of a report of a technical committee established on April 27, 2016 and the implementation became necessary in view of the many industrial actions witnessed in the country in recent times.

“First and foremost, the report emphasised the need to implement the law on ‘no work, no pay.’ So council today re-emphasised that that law is still in force and that it should be brought to the knowledge of workers in the public and private sector, especially those in the public sector.”

Too many strike actions: Ngige said the reason the law had to be revisited was as a result of the many industrial actions in recent months.

“We have to do that because of the spate of industrial crisis we have suffered in the last two months, when we had plethora of strikes all over the place.”

Hypocrisy in Union leadership: Ngige also said that the report also encompassed the need to review the activities of persons who have remained perpetual leaders of Trade unions, yet criticise politicians who attempt to seek third or fourth term in office.

“It was agreed that my ministry should continue with our work in terms of fishing out the unions that don’t have constitutions that prescribe time limit for their elected officers. Such unions should be made to comply with the law, so that people can be elected they serve out their term and other people will take their place. That is democracy at work,” he said.

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