Stories by Bimbola Oyesola, 08033246177
Conflict at workplace has often been the major problem to productivity as well as impede the overall progress of an organisation. However, industrial harmony in the workplace can only be enhanced if the management and workers put the interest of the organisation first.
In a lecture delivered at the 2016 Annual Seminar of the Ministry of Defence Unit of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), the Secretary-General of the union, Alade Bashir Lawal, said while the management and the workers have their respective interest to protect during negotiation, they must always be guided by the knowledge that the survival of the organisation in question is a primary prerequisite for their continued existence as management and workers.
“This is precisely why industrial relations experts always recommend that employers and the employees must learn to moderate their demands on each other and accord the corporate interest of the organisation a priority while pursuing their separate goals,” he added.
The ASCSN Secretary-General who addressed the theme: “Understanding the Principles of Negotiation, Collective Bargaining and Social Partnership in the Workplace,” posited that Collected Bargaining is governed by Convention 98 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the right to organise and collective bargaining.
He added that the ILO views: “Collective Bargaining as negotiations about working conditions and terms of employment between an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisation on the one hand and one or more representative workers organisation on the other, with a view to reaching agreement”.
He stated that Section 25 of the Trade Unions Act Cap T14 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 provides that “where there exists a trade union for the purpose of collective bargaining, all registered unions in the employment of employer shall constitute an electoral college to elect members who will represent them in negotiations with the employer.
Comrade Lawal advised the managements in various organisations to avoid unfair labour practices which engender industrial conflicts in the workplace.
“In essence, anti-labour practices in all its ramifications need to be avoided for a successful collective bargaining,” he emphasized.
In his address at the occasion, the Chairman-General of the Lagos/outstation Unit of the Association in the Ministry of Defence, Oso Sola, appealed to the management of Ministry of Defence to pay all outstanding salaries and allowances owed employees of the Ministry.
He added that the other benefits being owed the workers by the Ministry of Defence include promotion arrears, 1st 28th Days in lieu of hotel accommodation, death benefit, etc.
“It is also regrettable that employees in the Ministry of Defence have not benefited from the National Housing Fund (NHF) as none of our members has been given loan by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the custodian of the fund, to build or buy his or her own house.
“Since this is not a retirement scheme, it is difficult to understand when our members will begin to benefit from the housing fund they have been contributing to over the years,” he said.
Group empowers physically-challenged youths with entrepreneurship skills
A Non-Government Organisation (NGO), Star Child Development Initiative (SCDI), at the weekend organised various entrepreneurship activities to equip people living with disabilities.
The project packaged in collaboration with Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation (AAAF) and Ecosystem based Adaptation for food security in Africa Assembly (EBAFOSA), Nigeria, was to enable them carve a niche for themselves rather than depending on government and relatives for survival.
The organisation, in its efforts, has been encouraging and supporting many youths living with disability in their entrepreneurship careers, while trying to help them diversify into agriculture and agribusiness, exploring agricultural value chains to their advantage.
To achieve this, the organisation stated that it has launched StarAgrability in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Ibadan, where the physically challenged youths were trained various skills along agric value chains.
And as a result of the training, many of them have been producing cassava chips, cassava chinchin, garri and powdered fufu.
Speaking at the International Day for Persons with Disability/trade Fair (basically showcasing goods produced by persons with disabilities) with the theme “promoting Equitable Development for Disabled Youths: A Must for growth”, the Chairman of the occasion, Professor Sabitu Olagoke, lamented the non-sensitivity of government to the empowerment of the people living with disabilities.
According to him, for the country to be economically strong, it must operate with minimum of 7 per cent growth rate, $900 billion GDP and 6,000MW, unfortunately the country has not met any of the conditions hence, the need for economic diversification to enhance economic growth.
He maintained that for this to be all encompassing, the United nations 17 Points Agenda on sustainable development goal must be fully implemented especially the items on promotion on inclusive society whereby the welfare scheme would reach effectively with impact on both the able bodied and people living with disabilities.
Olagoke said agriculture remained the most feasible option that could easily address the lingering economic recession to create of jobs and employment.
He analysed various entrepreneur opportunities along agric value chains that could be taken up by the people with disabilities, while urging the government to create enabling environment for them to thrive. He particularly charged the government to re-structure the Graduate Employment Scheme, GES, in a way to make the design friendly for ease of adaptability for the people living with disabilities.
He also appealed to the financial institutions and individual philanthropists to be more supportive to the disabled persons.
The Founder of SCDI, Mrs. Grace Alexander Abimbola also lamented that the level of discrimination against people with disabilities especially in Nigeria in terms of employment and access to loan was too high.
She said the purpose of the initiative by her foundation was to bring out the inherent ability out of the disabilities through empowering the disabled people in various entrepreneurial skills.
She also promised to help the disabled entrepreneurs in exporting their products as well as creating online platform through which they could advertise and offer their products for sale.
Abimbola said apart from showcasing the ability and inherent talents in the disabled person for the society to see how greatly they could contribute to economic growth, it was also aimed at promoting Made-in-Nigeria products as about 100 disabled exhibitors displayed their products.
Recession: FG seeks support of stakeholders in labour sector
Federal Government has urged stakeholders in the labour sector to support its efforts at minimising the adverse effect of recession on workers.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Clemet Illoh, while opening the fourth Registrar of Trade Unions Annual Workshop with the theme, “The Role of Social Partners in Combating the Challenges of Economic Recession” in Abuja, said a lot needs to be done to stem the unwelcome tide of recession. According to him, stakeholders in industrial relations must come together to proffer ways of minimizing, if not totally eliminating its adverse effects, as workers bears the major brunt of recession with the survival of trade unions threatened, and issues of downsizing, redundancy, casualization, and indecent work among others on the increase.
Ngige expressed optimism that various actions spearheaded by the Federal Government will improve economic activities and steer the nation’s economy out of recession, while advising stakeholders in the labour sector to bargain in good faith, open communication and appropriate disclosure of relevant information devoid of deceit, delay and denial.
The Minister opined that at the end of the workshop, participants would be able to develop strategies for overcoming challenges of economic recession and also enhance increased productivity for national development.
In his remarks, the Country Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr. Denims Zulu commended the Ministry for proactively facilitating the platform which will avail stakeholders in the labour sector the opportunities to discuss and proffer solution to the adverse effects of recession on Nigerian workers.
In their separate messages the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba and his Trade Union Congress (TUC), counterpart, Bobboi Bala Kaigama, posited that recession poses a lot of challenges to the industrial relations milieu as workers, pensioners and their family are mostly affected.
The President of the two labour centres urged the federal government to give the review of the existing minimum wage the attention it deserved as increase in wages can also serves as a way out of recession
The representative of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mrs. Adenike Ajala stated that despite the current economic situation, the organized private sector is committed to ensuring that they provide decent working environment for workers.
She emphasised that to do otherwise is counterproductive as this will affect workers’ commitment and productivity