Wednesday, September 2

Buhari vows to end incessant strikes

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday expressed his administration’s commitment to boosting national productivity and taking all necessary actions to end incessant strikes by workers in vital sectors of the Nigerian economy.

He made the declaration during a meeting with the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Onubuogo Clement Illoh and other officials from the ministry.

Buhari said that he was particularly disturbed by the seemingly endless strikes in Nigeria’s health sector which have contributed to the fall in the standard of health services in the country.

The President directed the Ministry’ officials to liaise with other stakeholders and quickly work out proposals for ending the recurring strikes in the health, education, transport, oil and gas, power and other critical sectors of the national economy.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was also present at the meeting, urged Dr. Illoh and his staff to make an input to ongoing plans for the extension of welfare services to poor and disabled persons.

Dr. Illoh had earlier attributed some of the recurrent strikes in the country to the inclination of some government officials to enter into agreements with financial implications without carrying the Ministries of Finance and Labour along.

He said that the Ministry of Labour has now introduced a Code of Conduct for Government Negotiators barring them from entering into agreements with financial implications without the consent of the President.

Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Illoh said: “At the end of discussion, the president and vice president showed critical interest in three areas. First is the issue of national social insurance trust fund that has to do with social security and social welfare.

“At the moment, the agency covers all sectors, both private and public, that is organization s employing five or more persons. You will also know that the ruling party has as its manifesto, the issue of providing social welfare. We have keyed into this.

“The second area is incessant strikes and lockouts with special reference to health sector. We listed the causes of strikes and how we can quickly ameliorate this in all sectors. One way of doing that is to curb impunity.

“And establish rule of law in the management of trade disputes. Towards this end the institution for the management of trade disputes will be strengthened. Institutions of conflict mediation, industrial arbitration panel up to the industrial court of Nigeria, there need for capacity development to be able to cope with the challenges associated with knowledge, technique and attitude and behavior because if you look at the causal factor responsible for strikes and lockouts.

“It can be categorized into three individual. Some individuals have propensity for trouble making. There are policies that encourage strikes between management and workers and there are external factors.

“For instance when Nigerians go on strike because of increase in prices of products, those are not directly related to work. These are factors outside working environment but bear great influence to industrial relations harmony.”

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