The Federal Government has decried the non-implementation of Employees Compensation Act, ECA, 2010 by state governments, resulting in many workers not being covered by the Act for injuries and even deaths sustained in the place or course of employment.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, spoke in his address at the 13th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Abuja.

Ngige charged the leadership of NLC to remedy this situation as the welfare of workers is one of the cardinal functions of trade unions, including confederations.

Regarding insurance cover for workers, the Minister noted that “the National Pension Commission, PeCom Act 2014, makes it mandatory for all employers to provide insurance cover for their employees.

“The NLC leadership took Nigeria workers whom they are representing to the Governing Body of the ILO and the outgoing President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba attained the height of his trade union career and became the President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) – the Nigerian workers were really represented adequately.

“However, I need to point out some areas for the new and incoming leaders to look out for and fill in the lacunae for a better and progressive trade union movement for the good of all in Nigeria.

“It is acknowledged both nationally and internationally that Government would not interfere in trade union matters and likewise, Trade Unions are not to interfere in Labour Administration unless as provided by the laws and principles of tripartism. Trade Unions are not mandated to dictate to the Government on appointment of Public Officials such as Permanent Secretaries, Director Generals, Directors, etc. as such appointments are within the purview of Government functionalities. How will a trade union fare if the Government starts dictating on who and how they elect their executives.“

He lamented the non–conformity to the labour laws by unions, especially the laws contained in the Trade Disputes Act (TDA) on trade disputes.

The Minister said the non-conformity to labour laws supports his policy that all newly elected trade union officials must attend relevant courses at the Michael Imuodu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS) to equip them with requisite knowledge and turn them into seasoned Industrial Relations experts.

He observed that non-reportage of the laws has been a bane on sincerely conducted social dialogue and negotiations as the majority of the workers’ population are left with no information, under-information and most often, misinformation.

Ngige enjoined the confederation of trade Unions’ leaderships to always be bold to inform the affiliates of the true state of Labour Laws even when it is not in their favour, to help in avoiding mistakes and mis-steps.

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