Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has urged trade unions to embrace the instrument of social dialogue in resolving trade disputes, for industrial harmony in the country.
Ngige spoke in Abuja at the commemoration of the 2022 International Workers’ Day, with the theme, “Labour, Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria”.
He described social dialogue between governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations as the key to social justice, equity and decent work.
“Tripartite and Bipartite consultations are recognised as mediums for engagement of actors in the industrial relations arena to arrive at Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) or Social Pacts while implementing new socio-economic policies.
“In doing so we reiterate the doctrine put in place by International Labour Organisation founding Fathers that in tripartism or employment relationships, social dialogue is the key and it unlocks the expected fruits of social justice, equity and decent work.
“Therefore, let us all embrace social dialogue to build a sound National Industrial Relations System (NIRS).”
The statement signed by the Head, press and public relation, Patience Onuobia, the minister described the theme for this year’s May Day as apt, considering that the nation was preparing for electoral processes, and urged trade unions, as the representatives of workers, to partner with the government “in the determination and application of the economic and social policies, by utilising social dialogue as a veritable instrument to forge new social pacts at times of socio-economic upheavals and changes and the attendant problems.”
The Minister also stated that rights emanating from employment relationships were reciprocal, which principle must be respected.
According to him, “In the quest for good governance, trade unions must desist from dictating to the government on how to run its business, just like the government would refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Trade Unions.
“Experience has shown that in the past there had been occasions of Government incursion, but for this Administration, we have tried as much as possible to refrain from this act, but sadly some Trade Unions/Associations have found this a very attractive trait to prove to their members that the leadership is tough.”