Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday attacked trade unions in Nigeria, accusing them of always pursuing their narrow minded selfish interest without thinking of the good of the country.
Governor Nasir who was speaking at the ‘Governance Matters’ roundtable organised by Development Alternative Incorporation, DAI in Abuja, accused trade unions of always dragging their state chapters into the unnecessary fights with the Federal government.
Governor El-Rufai berated Nigerian doctors for going on strike despite taking an oath to always save lives. He said it is only in Nigeria that doctors go on strike.
The governor in his speech advocated for a cut down in the National minimum wage.
Trade Unions have never served the country well. They have been selfish and everything is about their narrow interests. In general, in Nigeria, trade unions have been a danger to our progress and I think they should be curtailed. The mistake we made as a country was placing trade unions in the Exclusive Legislative List. If the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has an issue with the Federal Government, then the state universities will go on strike too. In Kaduna, I warned the Kaduna State University, that if ‘you ever go on strike again because of somebody else, I will fire all of you. I think we need to do some things. First, take labour matters out of the Exclusive List because many of us are victims of agreements reached with ASUU by the Federal Government. The states were never part of such agreements.
Secondly, is the issue of minimum wage. Except we set a very low minimum wage, there will continue to be issues especially with states that do not have wide tax net. You cannot set the same minimum wage for Lagos and Jigawa. Also, we must apply the labour laws strictly. No work, no pay, because there has to be a trade dispute before anything strike. That is what the law says. I think the health unions have been the most irresponsible because only an irresponsible doctor will abandon his patients even after swearing to the Hippocratic Oath. I think Nigerian doctors are the only ones on the planet that go on strike.
We have submitted our report on true federalism and it will be taken to the National Assembly. We hope the National Assembly will stop dealing with inanities and deal with the real issues,” he said