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How We Averted Trade Union Strike That Could’ve Collapsed Nigeria’s Economy – Ngige

Minister of Labour and employment, Chris Ngigi
Minister of Labour and employment, Chris Ngigi

Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige has painted a picture of how the nation’s socio economy would have collapsed if he and his team had not rose to the occasion by dissuading workers in vital areas of the economy from embarking on strike nationwide.
He said that such workers are under yet-to-be-registered
United Labour Congress (ULC), made up of National Union of Electricity Workers, (NUEW), the NUPENG, the National Association of Pilots, Engineers and Electronic Managers in the Airports, (NAPEEM) and the National Union of Banks and Financial Institutions Workers which is (NUBIFE).
“These are unions that affect the life of everybody. If you don’t have electricity; if you don’t have petrol and diesel and kerosene and you don’t have access to money in your ATM in the banks, something serious could happen to one’s life so we decided to, in the spirit of collective bargaining and social dialogue as enshrined in the ILO Convention, engage them.”
Dr. Ngige, who briefed news men shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting today, Wednesday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that these unions had earlier threatened to go on strike starting from Monday.
“We engaged them yesterday and this morning, we engaged them before Council and I am happy to announce that they have agreed to call off the strike with effect from today. So,  we are getting the striking workers back to their beats.”
He recalled that just this week, the Academic Staff Union of Universities called off its five weeks strike, followed by that of the National Association of Resident Doctors and  the Non Academic Staff Union, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities and NAAT all of which are university based trade unions.
“I am happy to announce that after intense and fruitful deliberations, National Association of Resident Doctors called off their strike about a week ago, followed by ASUU that called off their strike last Monday. Efforts are on to get NASU, SSANU AND NAAT which came under a Joint Action Committee called JAC of unions of universities to call off their strike today.
“The underlying thing is that the government has assured all of them that we have the welfare of our people at heart and for those of them who were angling for payment of arrears of salaries, shortfall of salaries, promotion arrears,  leave allowances, benefits, government has shown good faith and has started paying.
“We hope to continue paying and the monies that are not paid this year will be captured in the 2018 Appropriation budget.”[myad]