It may seem that the era of frivolous striking by government workers is about to meet its end. The minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige presented a draft white paper to the Federal Executive council (FEC) for the enforcement of “no work no pay” rule. It is important to state that this rule is derived from Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act which seeks to withhold the wages of workers who take part in strike actions, for the duration of the strike period. One would wonder if this provision had been in existence all the while University workers have been embarking on incessant strike actions, sometimes to the detriment of students. It is clear that a widespread implementation of this rule will lead to fewer strike actions by Trade unions. One question that comes to mind is whether the “no work no pay” rule will totally obliterate the right or liberty of Trade unionists to embark on fair strike actions? Surely, the provisions of the Trade Dispute Act will be interpreted in such a way that the rights of unionists to embark on just strike actions will be preserved. This is particularly so, in respect to the provisions of Section 43 of the Trade Union Act, which expressly or somewhat impliedly allows Trade unionists to embark on peaceful strike actions, provided that neutral unionists are not coerced into joining the strike action. As a rejoinder to the resolutions made by the Federal Executive council approving the “no work no pay” rule, the president of Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, reportedly issued a statement asserting that the resolution by FEC was done in bad faith and Nigerian workers cannot be deterred from withdrawing their services in circumstances where their expectations are not met. He stated further that “no work no pay” must be interpreted in conjunction with “no pay no work”. In light of the emergence of this rule and FEC’s resolution, it is imperative for labour workers to keep their ears to the ground, as the implementation of the rule will no doubt affect their actions and activities.
What are your thoughts on this move?