Addressing Workers’ Wage Disputes: A Collective Role Of Federal, State Lawmakers… Rep. Onuigbo
Representative Sam Onuigbo, Member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/Umuahia South Federal Constituency of Abia State says that issues as it pertains to payment of salaries and wages of workers in Nigeria is a collective responsibility of both Federal and State Lawmakers.
The Lawmaker, who felicitated with Workers in his Constituency and Nigeria in general at 2022 Workers’ Day Celebration, today, stressed that Lawmakers at various levels must eschew partisanship and personal interests, while ensuring that federal wage laws are appropriately implemented.
In his goodwill message, Onuigbo who reiterated that legislators could help provide a lasting solution to the perennial wage crises that Nigeria faces, appealed to his colleagues to aid workers in limiting their agonies thus making laws that would make better their lots.
Odozio-Obodo insisted that a worker ought not to be subjected to gnashing of teeth before receiving his/her salary, hence a worker deserves his wages.
Worried by the penurious state of workers across the states, Onuigbo used the medium to charge all legislators to be conscious of their role in that regard, while also calling on the Judiciary to return to their drawing board, as it were.
The message read in detail:
“The celebration of Workers’ Day today is an important opportunity to reflect on the perennial issues of wages in the country and how these have continued to affect Nigerian workers. As a legislator, I am reflecting on the important role legislators must play in at least limiting the extent of these issues and making life better for workers in the country.
“It is primarily through the enactment of labour laws that protect the welfare of workers that legislators can help bring to an end the perennial wage crises that Nigeria faces. Over the years of course, Nigerian legislators have made efforts in this regard. The following easily come to mind: The Labour Act 2004; The Pensions Act 2004; The Trade Disputes Act; The Trade Union Amended Act 2005; The Employees Compensation Act 2010; The National Minimum Wage Act 2011; The Pension Reform Act 2014; The National Minimum Wage Act 2019; The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission Establishment Act 1993.
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“It is important to place a finger on the fact that the primary responsibilities of lawmakers is lawmaking and oversight. Clearly then, the principal role that legislators must play in ending wage crises in Nigeria is to ensure that they enact detailed laws that will in very clear terms define the relationship between employers and employees, highlight dispute resolution channels and clearly specify penalties for defaults. This should then be followed up by ensuring the implementation of the laws through proper, effective, and efficient oversight.
“In a country like Nigeria, with many federating units, this important role of legislators in addressing wage disputes will be the collective responsibility of federal and state lawmakers who must shun partisanship, personal interests, and ensure that federal wage laws are uniformly implemented and where necessary, domesticated.”
“May I therefore use this opportunity to charge all legislators to be conscious of this responsibility. In the same vein I charge the executive and judiciary to also play their role.
“A worker deserves his/her wages and should receive same without undue stress and without recourse to gnashing of teeth”, he added.