Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Buhari regime wants compulsory eight-week training for labour union leaders

Mr Buhari’s regime has proposed a compulsory eight-week course at the Michael Imoudu National Institute of Labour Studies for all newly elected labour leaders in Nigeria.

• November 15, 2022
Labour minister Chris Ngige and President Muhammadu Buhari
A composite of Labour minister Chris Ngige and President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has proposed a compulsory eight-week course at the Michael Imoudu National Institute of Labour Studies (MINILS) for all newly elected labour leaders in Nigeria.

Labour minister Chris Ngige said this during a budget defence of the ministry, parastatal and agencies before the House of Representatives committee on Labour on Monday in Abuja.

“The training is necessary to acquaint the labour leaders with the laws guiding trade unionism and trade dispute resolution in the country, along with the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO),” explained Mr Ngige. “The mandatory training will also enable the unions to know the limits of their powers and where the powers of their employers stop.”

The labour minister further stated that some union leaders were disobeying his ministry and even the country’s labour laws because they lacked basic training on the laws and their application.

”You know, a lot of people who answer labour and union leaders are not trained in the labour laws of the country, including those who are professors. They disrespect labour laws. They disrespect the labour ministry, labour committees and everybody,” stated Mr Ngige. “So, we want to upgrade MINILS and make it mandatory that once you are elected as comrade president or secretary general or whatever, you must go there for a course that will last not less than eight weeks to get certificated.”

Otherwise, noted the minister, “you see people who are educated and knowledgeable, and they are telling you that Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act (TDA) 2004, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria is not applicable to them or anybody.”

He added, “How do you say that? You are insulting the parliament that is making laws.”

Mr Ngige also mentioned that this was the same act that said the union must be audited every year and the audited account submitted to the registrar of trade unions.

“It is just like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that registers political parties. If you apply to be registered as a political party, INEC will register you but will ask you to tender the audited accounts of your party every year,” Mr Ngige explained. 

The minister added, “You must conform as a political party, but if you default, the commission will penalise you, according to the law. There are no two ways about it. A labour leader who attended the university but lacks small knowledge of the laws guiding trade unionism is a dangerous person to the society.”


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