The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the implementation of the no work, no pay principle in the federal public service.
Giving this hint at the end of the council’s meeting while interactive with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said that the approval was sequel to the adoption of the Draft White Paper on the Report of the Technical Committee on Industrial Relations Matters in the Federal Public Service.
The minister pointed out that the efficiency of the nation’s public service was being hampered by a plethora of problems and conflict areas, hence governments have over time, set up various committees and issued circulars to stem the industrial disputes.
According to him, the Technical Committee, which was inaugurated on April 27, 2016, did its work and submitted it to the FEC in October last year following which the FEC constituted a committee of 10, which to do a government Draft White Paper on those contentious areas that the technical committee had looked at.
He explained further: “These contentious areas are enforcement of section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act Law of the Federation 2004; this is the section that deals with lockout of workers by their employers without declaring redundancy appropriately.
“Because in some establishments, especially in the private sector, workers are locked out by their employers; so the law there says that if you lock your workers without passing through the normal channel-due process.
“For the period of the lock out, the worker is assumed to be at work and will receive all the remunerations and allowances, benefits accruing to him for the period and that period will also be counted for him as a pensionable period in the computation of his pension.
“But when workers go on strike, the principle of no-work-no-pay will also apply because that principle is enshrined in the same Section 43 of the Labour Act”, the minister added.
According to him, the section provides that for the period a worker withdraws his services, government or his employers are not entitled to pay.
He explained further that under the section, the period for which the worker was absent would not count as part of his pensionable period in the public service.
Ngige confirmed that FEC deliberated on the section and accepted it as a White Paper recommendation that should be gazetted since the National Industrial Court had made pronouncement on that law and said that it was clear.
The minister disclosed that the council also considered another area relating to the issue of public servants remaining permanently in the executive bodies on trade unions.
He elaborated: “Government realised that some persons in the public service go into trade union executive positions; hold offices; and they do that for life; for as long as they are in the service.
“In doing so, they will refuse postings and deployments under the guise that are doing trade union activities; government says no. You have to be a public servant first before you become a trade unionist; therefore, if you are there; the public service rules will also apply to you.
“And in doing so, government says establishments will look at the issues and give it a human face in order not to disrupt trade unionism.
“And in furtherance to this, government has also said that there must tenure stipulations because people stay there without tenure; many organisations give people union positions without tenure; government says there is no office that does not have tenure”, the minister added.
He stressed that trade unions should present henceforth constitutions that must have tenures; at least, maximum of two tenures for any elective position.
The minister said that the FEC discussed the report on the issue of residence training for medical doctors, adding that the Federal Government had fixed seven years tenure for residence training of any medical doctor to pass all his/her exams or quit.
On the minimum wage, the minister restated that the Federal Government’s position was the increase of the current N18,000 minimum wage to N24,000 per month, saying that once minimum wage is finalised, any organisation or state that had the capacity to pay more could do that.