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Frankly Speaking With Jola Sotubo Nigeria’s labour unions are confused

It’s amazing that Nigeria’s labour unions only decide to bare their fangs and fight when the government plans subsidy removal or increases the price of fuel.

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State Governors agree on N22,500 as minimum wage play

NLC leaders


The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed to go on strike today, May 18, 2016, over the increased fuel price despite an order from the National Industrial Court restraining them from the action.

The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) met with the Federal Government in a bid to reach a resolution but the meeting was said to have ended in a deadlock.

“That was why the meeting ended in deadlock. FG proposed N120 per litre but the NLC insisted on total reversal to the old price, which is N86 per litre. They were not ready to accept the outrageous proposal,” a source told Daily Post.

The outcome of the meeting with the Joe Ajaero-led group would determine the next line of action,” the source added.

The TUC and the Joe Ajaero faction of the NLC eventually reached an agreement with the government but the Ayuba Wabba faction refused to budge after walking out of a peace meeting on Tuesday, May 17.

Wabba also told newsmen after the meeting that the indefinite strike would begin today in defiance of the court order.

It’s amazing that Nigeria’s labour unions only decide to bare their fangs and fight when the government plans subsidy removal or increases the price of fuel.

Originally, a labour union, also trade union, is an organization of workers who come together to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of its trade, improving safety standards, achieving higher pay and benefits such as health care and retirement, increasing the number of employees an employer assigns to complete the work, and better working conditions.

The most common purpose of these unions is maintaining or improving conditions of employment. This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies.

Which of these original assignments are Nigeria’s trade unions fulfilling? Did they strike when a Nigerian worker died in a certain company’s warehouse recently? Did they even speak up or offer to investigate? What have the unions done to address the indiscriminate sacking of Nigerian workers from several companies, most times without due process?

Is the NLC monitoring the way Nigerians are being treated in foreign companies? Does the NLC know that some companies split their staff’s salaries in half after owing them for months? Do the labour unions even care that some companies are paying and treating university graduates like labourers?

Why hasn’t the NLC gone on strike over the salaries being owed in Osun, Bayelsa, Ekiti and other states around the country? Why aren’t the unions pushing for Nigerian citizens to get paid overtime when they work at odd hours 7 days a week? Why is the NLC allowing our labour laws to be flouted regularly without redress?

Nigeria’s labour unions have lost their credibility, and this is why most citizens have no interest in their proposed strike. Some officials of the NLC even got stoned in Jos, Plateau State while trying to mobilize protesters for the strike.

The fact that the labour leaders are only pushing for selfish interests can be seen clearly in the NLC’s division into two factions, how then are Nigerians supposed to stand united behind them?

The NLC and the TUC need to return to their original purpose, which is to fight for the welfare of the Nigerian worker, and stop meddling in battles that don’t concern them.

Will you join the NLC's strike?»

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