Minister of Labor and Employment Chris Ngige made the announcement on Monday in defense of the budgets of his ministry and its parastatals before the House of Representatives Labor Committee.
According to a statement released by the ministry, Ngige stated that the training is necessary to familiarize workers’ leaders with the country’s trade unionism and trade dispute settlement laws, along with International Labor Organization conventions.
As he explained, thanks to the mandatory training, the unions will have the opportunity to know the limits of their powers and where the powers of their employers stop.
The minister said some union leaders were disobeying his ministry as well as the country’s labor laws because they lacked basic training on the laws and their application.
He said: “You know many people who answer to the labor and union leaders are not trained in the labor laws of the country including the teachers. They do not respect the labor laws. They do not respect the ministry of labor, labor commissions and all.
“So we want to revamp the MINILS and make it compulsory, once elected Comrade Lehendakari or General Secretary or whatever, to go there for a course that will last less than eight weeks, to get the certificate.
“Otherwise, you see educated and expert people and they tell you that Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act 2004, the Law of the Federation of Nigeria is not applicable to them or anybody. How do you say that? You are insulting the parliaments that are making the laws.
“You are registered as a trade union and the Trade Unions Act (2005) has been amended and yet you say it should not apply to you and you cannot submit an account of the fees charged. The same Trade Union Act allows the union to deduct the check fee from the wages of its members. The same act states that the trade union must be audited every year and the audited account must be submitted to the trade union register.
Further, Ngige said: “It is like the Independent National Electoral Commission which registers political parties. If you apply for registration as a political party, INEC will register you but you will be required to tender your party’s audited accounts every year. You must conform as a political party but if you default the commission will punish you, according to the law. There’s no two ways about it.”
“He who went to university but has little knowledge of the laws that guide trade unionism is a dangerous person for society,” he warned.
He added that apart from training labor leaders, the ILO in Africa, having heard a lot about MINILS, nominated other West African countries to come, pay the fees and get the Nigerian certification as an institute.
As a result, he appealed to the National Assembly to consider the institute for the special intervention fund, so that the place could be renovated.
The permanent secretary of the ministry, Daju Kachollon, other senior management staff and heads of parastatals also went to the defense of the budget.