Nigeria: Govt threatens to revoke banks, telcos license over sack of workers

*Nigerias Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief Chris Ngige

*Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief Chris Ngige.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

08 June 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal government has threatened to sanction banks and telecommunication companies, which fail to comply with its order to suspend retrenchment of their staff.

According to a statement obtained by our correspondent, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief Chris Ngige, gave the warning on Tuesday at the 105th session of the International Labour Congress (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The minister expressed shock that the directive was disregarded.

“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government gave the licences to the banks to operate and if its directives are not adhered to the licences will be withdrawn if the need arises,” he said.

He added that, “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.”

According to the minister, the government was doing everything possible to revamp the economy and make it easier for businesses int he country to retain their staff and operate profitably.

He said, “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 comes 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.

Eco Bank and Diamond Bank also sacked over thousands of staff over the past couple of weeks.

Economists have warned that the current economic situation in the country may lead to massive job losses across various sectors of the economy.

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