Divisions in unions limiting their capacity to represent workers’ interest – Minister

Divisions in unions limiting their capacity to represent workers’ interest – Minister
January 25 22:02 2017

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Chris Ngige has expressed concern over the factionalization of labour unions in Nigeria, saying that acrimonious divisions were limiting the capacity of the unions to fully articulate and represent the interest of Nigerian workers.

The minister said this on Wednesday while receiving president of World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), Comrade Makwayiba Mzwandile Michael in his office in Abuja,

He said there was the need for the World Federation of Trade Unions to use the opportunity of its Pan-African summit scheduled for Nigeria in July 2017 to seek unity among Nigerian labour unions.

“I believe that the summit offers a good opportunity for the unification of workers’ unions in Nigeria. We have factions and we shall appreciate if you use your office to bring unity among the factions so that workers’ unions and their parent federations will become one again in Nigeria. I raised the same issue yesterday when the Secretary General of the International Trade Union Congress, Sharon Baron visited.

“So, I use this opportunity to harp on the unity of workers in Nigeria, unity of workers on the continent and the unity of workers all over the world. Factionalisation creates a very big setback in workers’ strength because united we stand, divided, we fall.

The minister said Nigeria is committed to protecting the rights of workers, stressing that the the country has “adequate constitutional safeguards for the rights of workers.”

He said Nigeria has domesticated all relevant sections of the ILO convention on workers’ rights, and has moved steps further in plugging constitutional lacuna that militates against the welfare, safety and security of workers, citing the Employers Compensation Act (ECA), which compulsorily insures workers against accident, disaster, diseases and death that could occur in the course of work as an instance.

He said that social intervention which would be discussed at the July summit was already being faithfully implemented by the federal government under five cardinal programmes.

In his presentation, president of the World Federation of Trade Unions, Comrade Makwayiba emphasized the importance of getting African governments and workers speak with one voice on global labour issues.

Dwelling on the history of the union while drawing from its varied benefits to workers, Makwayiba said he was in Nigeria to seek the support of the country towards a successful Pan-African summit in July this year.

He said the summit would afford Africans a veritable forum to cross-fertilise ideals  on issues, conventions and resolutions of the International Labour Organisation and other United Nations agencies.