By Moses John
Organised Labour yesterday came hard on the federal government over its planned decision to implement the ‘no work, no pay’ rule anytime workers embark on strike.
Speaking separately with Blueprint on the plans, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) vowed to resist any government policy that tends enslave Nigerian workers.
Deputy President of NLC, Comrade Peter Adeyemi, said such policy will not work, because most industrial action by workers was caused by the government.
He said Nigerian governments were insensitive to workers’ welfare, warning that implementation of ‘no work no pay’ would not stop strike unless government keeps to its part of the bargain.
Adeyemi vowed that workers would fight against this policy and any other policies that are anti-workers.
“Governments have been the cause of all strikes. It is a policy and decision that will surely not going to work. Most of the strike actions have been the fault of government failure to fulfil its own part of the bargain.
“Government will only call you when there is a strike action and promised what they cannot fulfil. They will sign MoU because they want to immediately arrest the strike and enter into MoU they are not going to honour.
“The implementation of no work no pay will not stop the strike, 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.’ Government is paying salaries in percentages, since November 2015, they have been paying salaries in percentages, 60%, 70%, 85% to workers in tertiary institutions, federal institutions, polytechnics, colleges of education, then you say we will not go on strike. There is no way.”
In his reaction, TUC President, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, said government should know that the law also makes provision for ‘no pay, no work.’
“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 Nigerian 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 the law says, those law punish an innocent person. ? What we are is that is not the issue of implementing. Can you be biased in your own implementation? What you are supposed to have asked the government is; who flouts the collective bargaining agreement, who flouts the issue of payment when it comes to the right of workers? Workers only start agitating where their welfare packages are infringed upon.
“Ordinary Nigerian workers have been patient with their employers.
So, if you pay their salaries and entitlement, workers have no business with what you do. But when you don’t promote and take care of their welfare, then they start agitation. 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.”