THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said all state councils where salary liabilities of up to three months exist, will apply “no pay, no work” rule.
Its president, Ayuba Wabba, made this known when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum in Abuja, on Sunday.
“We have given instructions to all of our state councils that where there is liability of salary up to three months, they should also apply the rule of ‘no pay, no work’ it is not only ‘no work, no pay’.
“You can also apply the rule in a reverse order of ‘no pay, no work’ and that is legitimate, because the law provides that after 30 days of working, the worker is entitled to be paid.
“How can we encourage people that have put in their best or even those that are still in the system trying to put in their best without addressing this very fundamental issue?
“Those are the situations we have found ourselves across states and across different employments; I feel very sad with the situation, but I think we will do all we can within our means and power to try to continue to protect all those workers,” he said.
The NLC boss said workers must be seen as an asset to the county and challenges should not be shifted to them.
“The challenges have been there; instead of looking inward to try to address these challenges, the bulk of the issue have been shifted to the workers and that is why I think that you can effectively say that ‘yes, these workers are under attack’,” he said.
Wabba said the NLC held a meeting with the state councils, where they took inventory of the liability of pension, gratuity and salaries, adding that the data was alarming.
“When you see the data of how much it stands today of liabilities that workers have not been paid, the worst is that of gratuity, which some states have a liability of up to 10 years.
“Workers have put in 30 or 35 years in service; they retired following the normal process, yet after retirement, they were not paid a dime.
“Therefore, it is like they are slaves; it is only a slave that will work and not be paid his entitlements,” he said.
He decried a situation, where the political leaders did not see the payment of workers’ salaries as important, but rather as a waste.
The NLC president noted that some governors would prefer to award bogus contracts rather than pay workers their salaries.
Meanwhile, the NLC President, Wabba, also said empowerment of workers through an upward review of wages will stimulate growth of the Nigerian economy.
He said now was the right time to review the present minimum wage of N18,000, adding that the congress had made a formal demand for it.
He stressed the need to have a happy workforce, saying it would increase productivity.
He, however, said the government had accepted the NLC’s stand on the need to review the minimum wage.
Wabba, also urged Nigerians not to succumb to efforts by external forces working hard to break up the country.
He said Nigeria’s size, population and natural endowments were assets many other nations were envious of.
He expressed optimism that the current security challenges and agitations which, according to him, were being fuelled and funded by forces determined to undermine Nigeria, were surmountable.
In a related development, the NLC president has called for total review of budgeting system in the country, saying the current process was outdated.
“We have said importantly that our process of budget making is faulty and, therefore, needs to be reviewed totally; we have sent very clear signals; it has to start early.
“In South Africa, the budget is subjected to public debates, the details will be made public, people will come in for public hearing.
“There will be a very good debate, there will be input from organised labour and that is what I think we should do now.’’
He said since the present administration won the election on the change mantra, the need to change the budgeting process was imperative, so as to avoid a situation, where individuals would continue to be blamed.