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Economy can’t absorb strike, NECA warns FG, Labour

By News Express on 28/12/2018

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•NLC protesters
•NLC protesters

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has expressed concern about the negative implication of the proposed nationwide strike by the organised labour, warning that the fragile Nigerian economy cannot absorb further shocks from such action.

Timothy Olawale, the Director General of NECA, who reacted to the planned strike in January 2019, said that the economy was still struggling from the impact of the recent and urged the Federal Government to avert the proposed strike.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and United Labour Congress (ULC) had last week jointly gave the Federal Government till 31, 2018 to transmit the N30,000 recommended new national minimum wage to the National Assembly for action failure of which they could longer guarantee industrial peace in the country. The ultimatum expires next Monday.

Olawale, speaking on the issue on Thursday, said: “It is worrisome that as a nation whose economy is still reeling under the effects of recent recession, government would needlessly further drag the economy into avoidable abyss. The colossal loss borne by businesses during the warning strike in September, 2018 is yet to be recovered and further disruption of business activities might sound the death knell for many enterprises.

The DG further expressed worry at the indecisive disposition of the Federal Government towards concluding the process leading to the implementation of a new national minimum wage.

He said: “Globally, there is a recognised and acceptable process of setting a National Minimum Wage as enshrined in the ILO Convention 131. This process had been adopted in previous National Minimum Wage setting in Nigeria and was meticulously applied by the National Minimum Wage Committee inaugurated by the President in December, 2017. It was expected that following the submission of the National Minimum Wage Committee’s report to the President on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, expedited action would be taken in transmitting a bill to the National Assembly as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari”.

Olawale recalled that the president had promised to transmit an executive bill to the National Assembly for its passage within the shortest possible time.

“It is, therefore worrisome that seven weeks after the submission of the committee’s report, government is planning to subject the report to another technical committee, unknown to the process of setting minimum wage. This delay in the completion of the process had led to the proposed strike by Labour, which is totally undesirable and should be avoided.”

Explaining further why the strike should be averted, the NECA DG said that with the rate of unemployment as recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), it is expected that all hands be on deck to ensure the continuous survival of businesses.

Proposing a way out of the threat by the labour union, he urged that “the President should, without delay, transmit an executive bill to the National Assembly as promised to enable it finalise the process leading to the enactment of a new National Minimum Wage Act.

He said businesses and the economy at large cannot afford another avoidable strike. He noted that the private sector, which is supposed to be the engine-room of national development, is usually the victim of such strikes.

The new DG of NECA concluded that, “businesses are presently encumbered by several challenges and any avoidable Labour action at the beginning of the year or any time whatsoever would be counter-productive, disruptive and would not be welcomed”

Sourced from a BusinessDay report 

Source News Express

Posted 28/12/2018 05:16:48 AM





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