The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has urged the Federal Government to intervene and address some issues concerning the progress of the union to avert industrial disputes.
The President of NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, made the call during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in his office recently.
Com. Khaleel raised issues bothering the union such as the non-implementation of scheme of service in some states, noting that “this scheme of service came into being in 2006, but to our greatest dismay, up till now some states like Kano, Zamfara, Gombe and Sokoto are yet to implement it. We feel that Nigeria has gone beyond this, and this is a great injustice to our members. We believe that honourable ministers have the capacity to address these issues by drawing the attention of the state governments to do the needful.
“There was also a process that was halted as a result of a court case on the new or improved scheme of service at the local government level which was done around 2016, up till now the document is lying at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), but with a new ministry created for inter-governmental affairs, that schedule is now shifted to the ministry.
“So, we believe this is one of the core labour issues that need to be addressed and tackled by this ministry before it becomes a dispute.”
Khaleel added that, “There is also issue of jurisdiction encroachment on our membership by some other unions, particularly the unions that exist in local education departments. By jurisdiction, they’re supposed to be our members, but some unions like the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are struggling to encroach in some states. They don’t have jurisdiction whatsoever to unionise workers at the local government level.”
He, therefore, appealed for the immediate intervention of the ministry to ensure harmonious working relationship between “our sister unions and our employers at the local government level; up to the national level.”
Com. Khaleel, noted that there was a problem, particularly on contribution to the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
He said, “I have discovered that there is nothing from the local governments or that there is little knowledge about the existence of NSITF by most of the local governments in the country, and I believe it is a very big omission on the part of the board.
“Therefore, we recommend that the ministry organises awareness workshops where functionaries of the local governments can be brought to the centre and educated on the existence of the board and the role they’re expected to play as local government professionals by way of their contributions to the board, and also educating the workers to also benefit where necessary.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, while responding to the unions demand urged NSITF to organise workshops to sensitize Local Government employers on the workings of the Employee Compensation Act and the benefits workers are entitled to, as well as the general mandate of the Fund.
Ngige reminded Labour to see to the proper enforcement of the provisions of the Employers Compensation Act (ECA) in all the tiers of government, as “the ECA protects workers and gives them better welfare. Workers are entitled to compensations under the Act for injuries, disabilities and even death sustained in the course of work.”