Punch is reporting that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has confirmed that the Federal Government has approved a White Paper ton Wednesday which hat will ensure drastic changes in federal public service.
According to the newspaper, the provisions contained in the paper outlawed private practice by government officials, especially health workers; has enforced the ‘no work, no pay’ rule; introduced the tenure of maximum of two terms for workers holding executive positions in unions; has pegged doctors’ residency training at seven years, among others.
Ngige explained that these rules were necessary because the nation’s public service had been bedevilled by various problems and conflicts, and he added that the technical committee that came up with the report was inaugurated in April 2016 and it submitted its report in October 2017.
He reportedly said:
“These contentious areas are the enforcement of Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act Law of the Federation 2004. This is the section that deals with lockout of workers by their employers without declaring redundancy appropriately because the same establishment, especially in the private sector workers are locked out by their employers. So, the law that says that if you lock out your workers without passing through the normal channel, due process for the period of the lock-out, the worker is assumed to be at work and will receive all remunerations and allowances and benefits accruing to him for the period and that period will also be counted to him as a pensionable period in computation of his pension. But when workers go on strike, the principle of ‘no work, no pay’ will also be applied because that principle is enshrined in that same Section 43 of the Labour Act.
That section says for the period a worker withdraws his services, government or his employers are not entitled to pay and the period for which they were absent will not count as part of his pensionable period in the public service. So, Council accepted it as a White Paper recommendation that should be gazetted because even the National Industrial Court has made pronouncement on that law and said that it is clear.
There is the issue of abuse of private practice by health professionals in full employment in public health institutions. There have been a lot of hues and cries about doctors establishing private clinics, visiting maybe the health institution they are serving once a week, then spend all their times in the private clinics. There is also the case of laboratory technologists doing so; there is also the case of even teachers who own private schools.
Government has said that a circular has to come out after a special committee of government has looked at this and given government full recommendations on how to curb that particular practice which had been causing a lot of harm especially in the public health institutions. There is also the issue of classification of research centres in the federal public service and the issue of directors general and Chief Executive Officers of Research Institutes remaining within research institutes after serving out their tenure.
Government says no. You have to be a public servant first before you become a trade unionist. Therefore, if you are there, the public service rules should also be applied to you and in doing so, government says establishments will look at issues and give them a human face in order not to disrupt trade unionism; and in furtherance to this, government has also said there must be tenure stipulations because people stay there without tenure. Many organisations give people union positions without tenure. Government says there is no office that doesn’t have tenure. Trade unions now should give us constitution that must have tenure at least maximum of two tenure for any elective position. Government therefore says all collective agreements must be authenticated by the rightful authorities and domiciled with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Next point is the issue of skipping. You all know about the history of skipping. The doctors want to skip, the laboratory technologists want to skip, always especially in the medical sector. It has now spilled over into the general public service. Therefore, government says Head of Service of the Federation must bring out a circular immediately to stop skipping arrangements.”
And he said a lot more. Read the full statement here.