The Minister of Labour and Employment in Nigeria, Dr Chris Ngige, says he is committed to working with all labour unions that respect the rule of law and follow due process in their engagements.
Dr Ngige who served as Minister of Labour and Employment for three and half years in the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari was among the 43 Ministers inaugurated on Wednesday by the President to serve in his second term.
Speaking with Voice of Nigeria labour correspondent Helen Shok Jok after his inauguration, the Minister said he was bringing experience to bear among other things in this second coming.
“We are bringing first experience, we’ve been there on duty tour of three and a half years, and the President has evaluated our effort and has recommended us to get back there, getting back there doesn’t mean we should go there and sleep or go there and be doing merry.
“We have so many outstanding issues to be addressed, some of them urgently, as we speak, as we know now, NASU, SSANU are on strike, the JAC are on strike, and the University system is now bobbling, we have to address that issues urgently”, he said.
The New Minimum Wage
The Minister said that the pending issue of the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage approved and signed into law by the President deserves urgent attention so that workers will start enjoying the new wage.
“We also have the issue of minimum wage consequential adjustment, my Permanent Secretary is handling it, and they have made some progress, by tomorrow we will get the notes from him and I and the Minister of State will study it and know how to key it.
“But the important thing is to ensure that that matter is addressed and as quickly as possible so as to put smile on the faces of Nigerian workers”, Ngige said.
On what he is going to do differently in his second coming as the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Ngige was quick to say that he is committed to ensuring a peaceful industrial harmony in Nigeria.
“I don’t know what I will do differently, I am a man of due process, if you like it you be will be my friend, if government is wrong I tell you it is wrong and proffer solution to how to do it so that we can come out of such a bad situation.
“I don’t see things I will do differently because I have been doing this.
“In fact, labour and employers, I don’t think they have had it very good, I have put in all my energy in whatever work I am given and I did so in the Ministry of Labour and Employment in the last three and a half years.
“With NLC, I remain committed to working with labour unions, the NLC is a federation of some labour unions, you have TUC, you have ULC which has not been officially registered.
“The only reason we have not registered them is that the unions are not brand new, the law says you must have brand new union 12, they don’t have it, but there are workers that are there. So I am committed to working with labour unions and labour federations”, the Minister said.
Senator Omotayo Alasaudura was also appointed as Minister of State, Labour and Employment.