THE Director General of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Olusegun Oshinowo has called on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige to work closely with other ministries as part of measures to ensure condusive business environment.
According to him, such collaboration if well harnessed is capable of facilitating the desired enabling environment “that will ensure business sustainability, competitiveness and job creation”
Oshinowo in a statement also expressed his disagreement with the Minister on his reported directive to Private Sector Employers, especially the Oil and Gas Companies, not to sack workers “even in the face of dwindling oil price at the international market and massive loss of profitability by the Businesses”.
“We have noted the recent meetings of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, with Employers’ representatives in some sectors of the economy and his directive not to retrench”.
“The Minister seems not to have shown an understanding of the fundamentals of managing a business in an economy that has been bedeviled by a drastic fall in the price of crude oil, scarcity of foreign exchange and gross erosion of purchasing power. The truth is that retrenchment is not a palatable option for any business. No employer will take pleasure in declaring redundant employees which it has invested in developing over the years.”
Making reference to job security, he said: “Job security cannot be decreed by Ministerial pronouncements but can only be encouraged and promoted through strong macro- economic fundamentals and an enabling environment.
“The voice of the employers reminded the Minister that it is part of the inalienable right of an employer to determine the optimal staff level it will need to sustain its operations. Where an Employer has found it necessary to carry out retrenchments, it would respect the laws of the land and laid down procedures for redundancy, “ Oshinowo added.
He advised the minister to understand that “the Ministry of Labour and Employment runs on the principle of tripartism, which entails regular interactions with Trade Unions as represented by Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress (NLC/TUC), the Employer as represented by NECA, and Government as represented by the Federal Ministry of Labour and “respect for their rights and interests on issues that relate to Labour and Industrial Relations”.
Oshinowo deplored a situation where the minister “will invite a key constituent for an important meeting and keep the party waiting endlessly”, adding that “this has not been the practice of the Federal Ministry of Labour”.
He appealed to the Minister to show “respect to the social partners by being timely and punctual at meetings which he has called”