THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has accused the government of being vindictive in its application of labour laws.
It insisted that Nigerian workers will not accept being turned into slaves in their own country as a result of government’s selective application of the laws.
The congress, in a statement yesterday, said the decision by government to invoke the “no work, no pay rule” on striking workers was an attempt to intimidate them into accepting unfriendly labour practices.
It added that the struggle by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) did not start today, while government has consistently failed to meet its own side of the bargain.
The statement signed by the Acting President, Comrade Lawal Dutsinma reads: “The attention of the NLC, has been drawn to a memo by the Federal Government dated November 29, 2018, directing Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities to apply the “No Work… No Pay” rule. We understand that the Federal Government has since rescinded this order.
“Nonetheless, Nigerian workers are concerned that for the umpteenth time, the Federal Government and many state governments have resorted to bullying and draconian threats in dealing with matters that strictly reside in the domain of industrial relations. This is truly sad, highly unfortunate and extremely provoking.
“We recall that the current struggle by ASUU for improved conditions of learning in our public universities is not the first time that the Federal Government is issuing the “No Work… No Pay” threat. During the last warning strike by the NLC on the new national minimum wage, Minister of Labour and Productivity Dr. Chris Ngige issued a “No Work… No Pay” threat against workers.
“Also, during the last nationwide strike action by health workers, the Federal Government did not only issue a “No Work… No Pay” threat, it went ahead to implement it. Till now, government still withholds about three months of salaries due to health workers.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress considers the application of the “No Work… No Pay” rule as an autocratic attempt to cow workers into abandoning their legitimate demand for decent wages, conducive work spaces and social justice…
“We warn government at all levels to desist from using the “No Work… No Pay” rule to shirk away from their responsibilities. We also demand immediate release of workers’ salaries withheld on the account of “No Work… No Pay” rule.
“Also, we ask government to respect agreements it freely entered into with ASUU to restore normalcy and sanity to our public institutions of learning, especially our universities. Our children have suffered enough already. Enough is enough.”