The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), on Thursday, warned that they would mobilise Nigerian workers to resist any policy of government that intends to enslave workers and the Nigerian people.
Specifically, the two federation of trade unions described the resolution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) after their Wednesday’s meeting that striking workers will no longer get paid as obnoxious.
Warning against any move to implement the “no work, no pay,” principle, the Deputy President of NLC, Comrade Peters Adeyemi and the President of TUC, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, who spoke with Nigerian Tribune, stated that the FEC should rather be disturbed by the fact that workers are not paid for over five months in some circumstances and the principle of “no pay, no work,” should be implemented.
According to Comrade Adeyemi, who is also the General Secretary of NASU, such obnoxious policy would not work, because most industrial actions by workers are caused by the government.
Adeyemi, accused the FEC members of insensitivity to the welfare of workers, wondering why they were not bothered and showed no concern for workers who for over five months go to work without salary, despite the fact that they have family and children to cater for, school fees to pay, as well as rent and transportation while going to work.
He, however, warned that implementation of “no work, no pay” would not stop strike unless government keeps its part of the bargain.
According to him, workers will fight against this policy and any other policies that are anti-workers.
He said: “Government is the cause of all strikes. It is the policy and decision they take that lead to strike by workers. Surely, it is not going to work, because most of the strike actions have been the fault of government’s failure to fulfill it own part of bargains.
“Government will only call you when there is a strike action and promise what they cannot fulfill. They will want to immediately arrest strike and will enter into MOU they are not going to honour. They will ask the workers to go back to work and sleep over the matter six, seven, nine and ten months, but the government will not honour its own part of the bargain and the workers will go back on strike.
“Government is the one to be held responsible for any strike, the current situation and the ones that will happen because they can’t make decisions and work it out, it is not going to work, to be displaced in our own land so we are going to fight.”
He pointed out that the government cannot go ahead to implement such policy with intention that workers should keep quiet so that they would silence them.
He said: “Are you saying that the government should silence us when they infringe on our rights? Or that they will implement and we will keep quiet? That will not stop strikes. Let government do what they are supposed to do.
“The implementation of “no work, no pay” will not stop strikes, government should do what they are supposed to do because workers have not been paid salaries for eight, nine months and government is saying they will implement “no work, no pay.”
“This government is paying salaries in percentages, since November 2015, they have been paying salaries in percentages of 60% , 70% , 85% to workers in tertiary institutions, federal institutions, polytechnics, colleges of education and then you say we will not go on strike. There is no way.”
The TUC President, Comrade Kaigama said government should know that the law also makes provision for “no pay, no work.”
He said: “Let them talk about “no work, no pay” and also “no pay, no work.” They should be fair and unbiased when it comes to the welfare of Nigerians workers, because the law has made provision for “no pay, no work,” just like the law has made provision for “no work, no pay.”
“What we are saying is that there are circumstances where there is an agreement between the employer and employee, when one flouts the law then what happens? They have not thought of that, instead they are talking about “no work, no pay.”
“Most times it is a case of employer flouting the subsisting agreement. So, when someone defaults on its agreement, what does the law says, thus the law punish an innocent person?
“What you are supposed to ask the government who flouts the collective bargaining agreement, who flouts the issue of payment? When it comes to the right of workers, they only start agitating where their welfare packages have been denied them and have been infringed upon.
“Ordinary Nigerian workers have been patient with their employers, so, if you pay their salaries and entitlements, workers have no business with what you do, but when you don’t promote and take care of their welfare and they start agitations, these are genuine agitations.
“How can you say you will punish a worker for an offence he never committed, so government should talk about “no pay, no work” before “no work, no pay.”
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