By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Government says it successfully averted over 4000 impending strike actions by industrial unions across the country through dialogue in the last seven years.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made this known at the weekly Ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, dialogue remains the best tool for settling labour disputes.
“We have been very proactive in handling industrial disputes.
”We have conciliated about 4000 labour disputes, more than that figure I think about 4300 or so since I came into that ministry and you don’t hear about that.
“Once we get notice of an impending strike, we call them to come, we discuss and we resolve the matter.
”Some of them are not very big unions especially in the oil and gas sector. But you don’t hear about that because we are forever committed to doing what we are supposed to do.
“The Ministry of Labour holistically conciliates but we don’t make those ones public because an agreement is reached almost immediately and the agreement ground is easy and you won’t see a strike.
”Once you write to us of a pre-action, (Trade Dispute Notice) once you do that, you have exercised your right and the rest is left for us.” he said.
Ngige added that the Ministry has Labour Dispute Desks and Rapid Response Teams in all the States of the federation that help in addressing industrial disputes.
According to the minister, modalities are already in the pipeline to give pay rise to civil servants especially those that enjoy peculiarity allowance, adding that the authorities are just waiting for the president’s approval to implement.
“We are already addressing the envisaged challenges associated with the current high cost of living.
“We are handling the issue of pay rise, some of the Ministries Departments and Agencies are doing that; even for Federal Civil Servants, there is a peculiar allowance that is envisioned for them.
“The Presidential Committee on Salaries has approved it and we have sent that to the President and once he approves it, implementation will start for them.
”Other people in the public service are also taking a queue, some are giving five or ten per cent pay rise,” he said.
The minister further disclosed that Nigeria had completed arrangements to collaborate with the International Organization for Migration to prevent illegal migration by job seekers.
He added that efforts had been intensified to revive textile industries in the country, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria had since put in place special funds for cotton growers.
He said that the fund was to locally source raw materials for the textile industries.(NAN)