Director-general of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS) Comrade Issa Aremu has warned that serial disregards for collective agreements by some employers, relevant government agencies with the attendant incessant strikes, lockouts and loss of man-hours could threaten the implementation of 2022 budget.
Aremu stated this at the opening of a four-day workshop via Zoom on “Conflict Resolution Through Interest Based Bargaining Skill and Structures” for workers drawn from health, education, maritime and finance ministries in Calabar, Cross river State on Wednesday.
The workshop was part of the regular programmes of the institute for employers, workers and government officials.
He said the N16.39 trillion budget for 2022 by President Muhammadu Buhari with the target growth rate of 4.2 per cent had commendably set clear cut parameters for “Economic Growth and Sustainability” next year.
The DG hailed what he called “unprecedented consistent budget punctuality”, adding that President Buhari had set the record of laying the 2022 budget as early as October 8th this year.
Aremu asserted that “serial mismanaged labour disputes” by some stakeholders in the labour sector threaten the realisation of the laudable objectives of infrastructure renewal and diversified economy.”
According to him, Nigeria faces a “crisis of compensation” of the workforce caused by lack of respect for collective agreements, weak collective bargaining by some government officials and public sector unions, which he noted had led to “preventable and avoidable strikes” in many sectors of the economy in recent times.
The MINILS DG said the Ilorin, Kwara State-based institute is set to partner with governments at all levels, organised labour and employers to train and retrain on the imperatives of decent work, peace, harmony and justice at work places as preconditions for sustainable development.
“It’s all about robust labour education which MINILS sets to offer.
For instance, you don’t sign agreements only in the breach, you make provision for a reopener clause where you know economic variables can change, as employers you must pay legally permissible minimum wage. It is an Act of Parliament signed by the president, to do otherwise is illegal. Even then, with the best labour’s practices, industrial conflicts are inevitable. Solutions lie in social dialogue, compromises, not in indefinite strikes without definite solutions, not in lockouts which deny the much needed productivity,” Aremu said.