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    NECA, Ngige Disagree Over Retrenchment In Oil Sector

    The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association on Friday said it disagreed with the directive by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, asking oil and gas companies not to sack their workers.
    The Director-General of NECA, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, said the minister was not putting into perspective the poor economic environment that had eroded the profits of private sector employers.
    The agency, in a statement on Friday, said sacking was not a palatable option for any business that had invested in its workforce over the years.
    He reminded Ngige that he was not in a position to instruct employers not to retrench workers because organisations had the right to determine the optimal staff level it would need to sustain its operations. 
    Rather, Oshinowo urged the minister to interface with other ministries in order to provide a business environment that would support business growth and job creation.
    He was quoted as saying, “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 sack. The minister seems not to have shown an understanding of the fundamentals of managing a business in an economy that has been bedevilled by a drastic fall in the price of crude oil, scarcity of foreign exchange and gross erosion of purchasing power.

    “Job security cannot be decreed by ministerial pronouncements but can only be encouraged and promoted through strong macro-economic fundamentals and an enabling environment.”
    He gave the assurance that employers would carry out downsizing within the ambit of the law when necessary.
    Oshinowo, however, said that “where an employer has found it necessary to carry out downsizing, it would respect the laws of the land and laid down procedures for redundancy.”
    “Employers’ expectation from the Minister of Labour and Employment is that he will work hand in hand with other government ministries in the establishment of the desired enabling environment that will ensure business sustainability, competitiveness and job creation”

    NECA DG advised Ngige to recognise that “the Ministry of Labour and Employment runs on the principle of tripartism, which entails regular interactions with trade unions as represented by the Nigeria Labour Congress /Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, the employers 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”.
    In particular, Oshinowo said it disapproved of a situation where the minister would invite its social partners for important meetings and keep the parties waiting endlessly.
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