Ngige begs labour to shelve strike on power tariff

Ngige: Minister of labour

The Federal Government has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), not to go on its proposed warning strike over hike in electricity tariff.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the Third Triennial National Delegates Conference of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC).

The Conference has as its theme: “Government and Labour Relations Towards Sustainable Growth and Expansion of the Power Sector in Nigeria.”

On Wednesday, the NLC during its Central Working Committee meeting declared one-day national warning strike over the refusal of the Federal Government to reduce electricity tariff.

The strike is aimed at putting pressure on the government to reverse the 45 per cent tariff hike.

Ngige said the issue of the hike in electricity tariff was before the National Assembly and the court.

He said: “the current state of electricity supply has become very worrisome in the country.

“In this regard, the Federal Government is resolved to ensure 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.

“Every bit of support from each one of you is worthwhile.”

The minister reiterated the commitment of his ministry to provide level playing ground for all trade unions in Nigeria.

He said that government would ensure the protection and promotion of the welfare of workers as a productive force to be reckoned with in economic production.

Ngige said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was committed to productive change and inculcation of sanity in the conduct of government business.

“It is our hope that the change mantra will instil discipline in the entire citizenry of Nigeria and promote transparency, accountability and other governance principles.

“The Trade unions, as partners in progress, should therefore align themselves with the emerging paradigm shift and change mantra of the government by supporting and encouraging the dreams and aspirations of the government,” he said.

Ngige said dialectical relationship between capital and labour should be played down to enable a viable environment for sustainable development of the nation.

In a  lecture entitled, “Employers and Labour Relation,” the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stressed the need for cordial relationship between employers and employees in various sectors of the economy.

He said that employers and employees must play their various parts for the development of the economy and society as a whole.

He said that due to the current down turn in the economy, the Buhari administration could not afford the N18, 000 minimum wage.

Fashola urged the labour movement to have a rethink before going for negotiation for a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

“We should negotiate in the content of the reality of our economy as all the states do not receive the same allocation or is the standard of living the same,” he said.

In his remarks, TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, called on the Federal Government to ensure that collective agreements are implemented to avoid industrial dispute in various sectors of the economy.

He called for sound relationship between employers and employees, saying that any industrial dispute could be resolved through dialogue.