The Federal Government of Nigeria has on Tuesday threatened to sanction Banks or Telecommunication Companys, which fail to adhere to its order to suspend the mass retrenchment of workers.
The warning was delivered by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on Tuesday at the 105th session of the International Labour Congress (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The minister, who expressed shock that the directive was disregarded, declared that the government would sanction erring companies, adding that it is the duty of the government to protect jobs in this unfriendly economy.
He said: “The federal government gave the licences to the banks to operate and if its directives are not adhered to the licences will be withdrawn if the need arises.”
“We will go a step further if they continue. We know what to do. They need to comply. They need to come to the negotiation table. We halted the spate of sack in the oil industry and we succeeded.
“Even if you are going to lay off, there is a way to declare redundancy, there is a process. Section 20 of the labour act says it. You must call the unions and discuss with them. You don’t just treat them as slaves in their own country and you want us to keep quiet.
“We want them to maintain the status quo. As far as I am the minister of labour, I will protect the interest of workers; same to the telecommunication companies, they are also talking about compiling lists without discussing with anybody.”
Ngige’s statement is coming barely a day after Skye Bank laid off 175 staff. The bank took the action on Monday, which happened to be the next working day after the directive by the minister.
It would be recalled, Eco Bank had also sacked over 1,000 staff last week.