We’ve Resolved 332 Trade Disputes – Labour Minister

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Akin Akande, Abuja

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, has revealed that his Ministry  entertained a total of 398 industrial related complaints and trade disputes between 2011 and 2013 out of which he said 332 of such complaints were amicably.

Giving the figures on Thursday while presenting his Ministry’s mid-term report at the ongoing Ministerial platform organised by the Federal Ministry of Information, the minister said the 332 cases were those resolved as at May this year.

The Minister also disclosed that mediation processes were currently on to settle the 32 outstanding industrial disputes, which include  the on-going indefinite strike called by members of Nigeria Union of Teachers in eleven states of the federation and  the one by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics.

His words: “Calculating the reduced percentage change in number of man-hours loss due to strike, the ministry achieved 9 percent out of the 13 percent targeted average for the past two years ending May 2013.

“This indicates that though strikes and lock-outs occurred, they were readily apprehended and resolved quickly to reduce loss in productivity”.

He could however not place specific figures on the number of jobs created for employment seekers in the last two years under the National Job Creation Committee instituted by the Federal Government recently, which he also chairs.

According to the Minister, unemployment rate in the country reduced by an average of 10 percent through contracts approved and awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which targeted about 198,538 jobs in the nation.

He said, “Between May 2011 and May 2013, it was estimated that FEC approved contracts would approximately generate about 198,534 jobs in the nation.”

He said over 45,862 jobs were provided for applicants under the Public and Private Employment Agencies (PEAs) out of the 88,630 targeted applicant figure, while also adducing low budgetary provision to the shortfall.

Under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) job creation scheme, government targeted 33,650 unemployed persons to impart skills and give resettlement packages to establish their own learnt trade but could only provide such financial allowances for 3,837 in the years under review.

On labour safety, health, welfare and education issues, the sector only effectively prosecuted 3 firms for industrial related accidents, while an average of 72 industrial incidents were reported to the ministry within the last two years.