Ngige offers mandatory training for union leaders
Labor and Employment Minister Chris Ngige has proposed mandatory training for union leaders.
The minister made this proposal while defending his department’s budget before the House of Representatives Labor Committee.
Ngige, in the statement issued by the ministry he leads, said that union leaders disregard the Ministry of Labor because of their lack of knowledge of Nigerian laws, adding that it was dangerous to have inadequate information about the constitution.
He said the mandatory training will provide the right information to union leaders on the limits on how to make demands, familiarize union leaders with trade union laws, trade dispute resolution and the International Labor Organization convention. (ILO).
“You know, a lot of people who answer to union and labor leaders are not trained in the labor laws of the country, including those who are teachers. They do not respect labor laws. They disrespect the Ministry of Labour, labor committees and everyone else.
“So we want to upgrade the MINILS and make it mandatory that once you are elected as a comrade president or general secretary or whatever, you have to go there for a course that will last no less than eight weeks, to get a certificate.
“Otherwise you see people who are educated and knowledgeable and they tell you that Section 43 of the Commercial Disputes Act (TDA) 2004, the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, does not apply to them nor to no one. How do you say that? You insult parliaments which make laws.”
“You are registered as a trade union and there is the Trade Unions Act (2005) as amended and yet you say it should not apply to you and you cannot account for the dues you you perceived.
“The same law on trade unions authorizes the trade union to deduct dues from the salaries of its members. The same law stipulates that the union must be audited every year and the audited account must be submitted to the Registrar of Unions.
“It’s like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which registers political parties. If you apply to be registered as a political party, INEC will register you but require you to provide your party’s audited accounts each year. You have to comply as a political party. But if you default, the commission will sanction you, in accordance with the law. There’s no two ways about it.
“A union leader who has attended university but lacks knowledge of the laws governing unionism is a dangerous person for society.”