…Says workers can go on strike to pursue aspiration
Bimbola Oyesola, 08033246177
The Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige, at the Workers’ Day celebration in Abuja, gave tactical support for workers to go on strike to pursue socio-economic goals and their aspirations.
Speaking from the perspective of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention and Nigeria’s extant labour law, the minister said workers can uphold the principle of the use of strike for their aspirations. But he noted that such strike should be used as a last resort.
Addressing the workers, he said: “I use this occasion of May Day to encourage workers to always imbibe the culture of communication and uphold the principle of the use of strike as a last resort in the pursuit of socio-economic goals and aspirations.
“Let us endeavour to conserve our man days productively. I promise you that our doors will always be open to engage your leadership towards a consensual end in all relevant matters of interest to you all.”
While explaining his position further, he pointed out that, in recognition of the importance of the labour movement in
Nigeria, great recognition and importance is accorded to freedom of association and the right of workers to bargain collectively in Nigeria’s Constitution.
This, according to him, “contributes to national development based on the fact that collectively bargained terms and condition of work tend to raise the bar on the standard of living of workers which enhances the nation’s progressive step towards eschewing decent deficit and actualising a higher social protection floor that would reduce poverty.
“The same reasoning apply to all the core labour conventions as propagated and entrenched by the International Labour Organisation’s Fundamental Principles and Right at Work. As you all know, Nigeria has ratified and domesticated all eight conventions.”
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama, in his address, however, decried the country’s unemployment rate, which he said rose to 18.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 from 13.9 per cent recorded in Q3 of 2016, making it the highest jobless rate since 2009.
“This confirms that many businesses have shut down between the last quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 due to government’s policies and other factors,” he said.