Nigeria News: Ngige’s Burden of Strike
Nigeria News take a look at the season of strike in the health and education sectors of the country and of course the burden it has created for the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.
The Nigeria Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige is having in his mouth more than he can chew at present.
Apart from the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola who has been battling with the federal lawmakers over budget to implement the mammoth projects on electricity and roads, Ngige has been running around to persuade Nigerian workers over inadequate salary and allowance.
The Federal Government has found a way through the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC by ensuring that the workers have not crippled the country’s economy with industrial action.
The NLC led by Ayuba Wabba came up with a proposal of N56, 000 minimum wage for the Federal Government and despite the failure of the government to implement it, the union has not downed tools.
The government has had series of dialogues with the national executives of the NLC and Trade Unions and to a large extent, the meetings has been fruitful with the formation of the Minimum Wage Review Committee.
However, the present scenario if not quickly addressed may lead to NLC embarking on a nationwide strike soon.
At present, one of the affiliates of the workers union, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has been on strike in the last three weeks.
The universities teachers are clamouring for salary increase and better welfare service. The teachers are also asking the government to visit the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the union in 2013.
It all boils down to funding of the university education. The Labour Minister Ngige, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun and her counterpart for Budget and Planning Senator Udo Udoma have been having series of meeting with the lecturers but are yet to agree on the various issues.
Ngige came out midweek to tell journalists that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had taken over the discussion with the lecturers but in a swift reaction, the media office of the vice president responded that it was not so.
Ngige said this when the national executive of the union refused to attend a meeting scheduled for last Monday with the government’s representatives.
ASUU executive had shunned the meeting, adding that it would not sit to discuss anything with the delegation anymore until the government replies a proposal it sent to it.
While the government is yet to settle the teachers’ grievance, the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD commenced a nationwide strike early Monday morning.
The agitation of the doctors was revealed in a statement released in Abuja by its national executive, over unpaid allowances and failure of the government to increase their salary.
The doctors said that they had rejected the promissory of the Federal Government and rising from the NARD NEC meeting early Monday morning, the resident doctors nationwide were directed to embark on indefinite strike.
The NLC is waiting for government to announce the minimum wage, which, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo may be implemented on the basis of efficiency and productivity of workers.
Osinbajo told the gathering of lawyers at the conference organized by the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA in Lagos last week that the government was not against increased minimum wage but that there were some agencies of the government that had been unproductive whose members of staff do seek salary increase.
To him, the issue of new minimum wage will be selective on the basis of workers’ efficiency and productivity.
In all of these, Ngige is set to begin another round of negotiation with NARD as the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole urges the doctors to go back to work. It is a heavy burden of strike on the labour minister.