The Federal Government has set up a committee to come up with a work plan on how to resolve the dispute between the Kaduna State Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, stated that this is part of the Memorandum of Understanding reached at the end of a conciliation meeting convened by the Federal Government to resolve the impasse between the parties, which led to a three-day industrial action by the Labour union.
Ngige said the ten (10) man Bi-partite Committee comprising six (6) representatives of Kaduna State Government and three (3) officials of the NLC would work with the objective of coming up with a work plan on “how to integrate the provision of section 20 of the Labour Act CAP L1 LFN 2004 to resolve the impasse between the State Government and the NLC.”
He added that the Committee, to be chaired by the Head of Service, Kaduna State Government, Bariatu Yusuf Mohammed, is expected “to revert with the work plan for peaceful resolution of all issues in contention to the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment by Tuesday 25th May, 2021.”
According to the Minister, “The work plan is to itemize the structure and sub-structure in the State and Local Government of their activities, time of commencement and envisaged final tenure of the Committee or make recommendations if in its wisdom it thinks the Committee should be a Permanent Standing Committee.”
The meeting also agreed that there should be no further industrial action on the disputed issues, while no worker should be victimized on account of their participation in the industrial action.
Ngige disclosed that the meeting, recognising that the listed issues in dispute fell within the ambit of redundancy, therefore resolved that “the principle of redundancy as stated in section 20 of Labour Act, Cap L 1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) should apply.”
The meeting also recognized that “the current impasse was caused by communication gap between the State Government and NLC occasioned by both the local chapter and even the Kaduna State Government officials.”
The Minister stated that NLC had alleged the following as the issues in contention – retrenchment of workers by the Kaduna State Government, and compulsory retirement of workers on Grade Level 14 and above.
The rest of the issues, as alleged by NLC, are compulsory retirement of workers who have attained the age of 50 years irrespective of their Grade Levels, reduction of the staff strength of Local Government to 50 in each of the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs), and casualization of workers on Grade Level 1-6.
Ngige said that the officials of the Kaduna State Government however debunked the allegations, explaining that they were only trying to implement the Public Service Revitalization and Renewal Programme of the State Government as approved by the State Executive Council since 2016.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Head of Service, Kaduna State Government, Bariatu Yuduf Mohammed; Kaduna State Commissioner for Lical Government Affairs, Ja’afaru Ibrahim Sani; and NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; NLC Deputy President, Najeem Usman Y.
The representative of Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Director, Finance and Accounts, Muoneke Aloy; and Director Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations, Mrs Omoabie U. Akpan, signed for the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.