Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has re-affirmed that the Federal Government will not tolerate flagrant disobedient of the nation’s labour laws and regulations by financial institutions operating in the country.
Ngige disclosed this today during an interactive meeting with stakeholders in the banking and finance sector on labour issues especially the recent gale of retrenchments in some banks across the country.
In his words, “You must obey all laws of the land including labour laws, such as the Trade Union Act, T14 law of the federation concerning redundancy and the Trade Dispute Act which deals with the management of trade disputes including employee-employers’ relationship”
Speaking further, the Minister emphasised that Nigeria is a signatory to International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions which promote decent jobs and frowned at unfair labour practices. He added that Nigeria cannot afford to be found wanting by the international body in this regard. “The ILO takes very seriously the issue of workers maltreatment in various guises, be it in the industries, construction sites or public service. Workers should be treated with dignity and decency.”
Ngige allayed the apprehension of stakeholders in the banking and finance sector stating once more that his intervention was not an undue interference in their affairs but a proactive measure aimed at finding lasting solution to the looming industrial unrest in the sector, being the Minister so empowered by the constitution and other extant labour laws.
Speaking on behalf of banking and finance regulators, the representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mr. Kolawole Balogun, expressed the determination of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to supporting development financing, and reduction of unemployment through diversification of the economy.
According to him, “we have looked at our laws in terms of our limitations. In as much as we cannot impose staff on any bank, we can engage them on other solution and that is what we are doing now. We have even gone a step further to look at how we can, not in terms of regulation but in terms of knowing why they are actually disengaging their staff. We will soon come up with a circular for the banks to ensure that if they are going to disengage up to a certain number of staff they should let us know and explain why. Although times are challenging at the moment, they can still manage to keep some level of their staff and remain profitable.”
In his remarks, the representative of First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Shehu Aliyu, stated that as responsible employers and major players in the nation’s economy, banks management will not be reckless to breach the laws of the country at will, saying that they would not intentionally break the laws.
He appreciated the efforts of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment in facilitating the platform for amicable solution acceptable to all stakeholders, while affirming the readiness of banks management to dialogue and discuss within the purview of the Nigerian laws.