The Federal Government has inaugurated the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC), for the period, 2021 – 2025.
Inaugurating the Council in Owerri, the Imo State capital, Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, stated that NLAC would offer advisory services to the Minister for Labour in the areas of Labour Administration, Employment Relations and Labour Productivity, the purpose for which it was established in 1955.
The Minister inaugurated the Council on behalf of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented virtually by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
According to him, the NLAC was established in 1995, while “the position and role of the NLAC became formalized into our labour practice with Nigeria’s ratification of ILO Convention No 144 (1976) on Tripartite Consultation between public authorities and Employers’ and Workers’ Organizations at National and Industrial Level in 1994.”
The Minister said that the NLAC play a critical role in promoting and ensuring best practice of Labour Administration in line with international standards.
He also noted that the eventual passage of the Labour Institutions Bill (into law) would widen the scope and functions of the existing Coucil, adding that “these functions and responsibilities if well performed will result to good industrial relations practice which is key to national growth and development.”
He disclosed that three Committees, under NLAC, were established in 2011, and inaugurated in 2013, to examine and make recommendations in the following areas of the nation’s Labour administration practice – “Development of Programmes and Strategies for strengthening and mainstreaming the National Labour Advisory Council into the National Development Agenda; Reviewing industrial relations practice in Nigeria, and Reviewing of the Constitution of the NLAC.
He urged the new Council to revisit the Terms of Reference of those three Committees with a view to reconstituting the Committees.
He stated that although the Council had been inactive, as no meeting had been convened since 2014, following the inauguration of the last Council in 2011, the Ministry had maintained a sound tripartite relationship with the Social Patners.
According to him, from 2nd to 4th March, 2020 the Ministry collaborated with the Social Partners – the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) to review the Draft National Labour Bills, which were withdrawn from the National Assembly for review and resubmission.
The Minister reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to improving and strengthening the country’s industrial relations system through social dialogue and tripartism.
He further stated that “government is committed to stemming the current negative effects of the global financial and economic crisis on employment by strengthening the machinery of tripartism and Social Dialogue in the world of work.”
Earlier, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa, stated that “Labour Administration in Nigeria today is faced with several challenges, which include sectoral industrial unrest, particularly in the education and health sectors. The ILO has also raised concerns over gaps in the application of ratified and unratified conventions, especially in the areas of high rate of unemployment and the application of labour legislations, as well as unfair labour practices occasioned by obsolete Labour Laws.”
He stated that the NLAC meeting is part of “Government’s strategy of strengthening collaboration between Social Partners and governments, both Federal and State, in order to achieve appropriate solutions at all levels to ensure lasting industrial harmony, social and economic development, as well as national growth.”
Present at the event were Governors of Imo, Abia and Ebonyi States, who were represented; Officer in charge of ILO Abuja Country office, David Okeno; President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, represented by Dr Niyi Olarenwaju, and Trade Union Congress (TUC) represented by its Vice President, Oyinkan Olasonoye (Mrs).