By Bimbola Oyesola
Micheal Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, had urged organized labour and civil society organizations in Africa to compliment elected democratic governments in Africa in defending constitutionalism and opposing military coups.
The Director General of the institute, Issa Aremu said it was imperative against the background of what he called “recent unacceptable undemocratic” military coups in Mali, Guinea and Sudan, that trade unionists speak out and resist unconstitutional usurpation of power in the continent.
The Director General who is also a member of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) Kuru Jos while declaring open a regular in-plant seminar on “Conflict Resolution Through Interest Based Bargaining: Strategies and Structure” attended by the Officials of Trade Unions and Employers’ Organisations, Heads of Departments/Units, Labour and Development and Officials Responsible for Labour-Management Relations in the country, emphasised that the first casualties of unconstitutional order are human and trade union rights adding that “illegal regime changes are as much a threat to elected ruling class as much as to the poor working class.”
While hailing decades of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa , the Director General observed that trade Unions had rightly taken the advantage of the democratic space in these countries to advance the cause of the working class through wage improvement, collective bargaining, free and unfettered organizing and exercise of freedom of association.
“Organized labour which suffered violations of rights through union dissolutions, income poverty and imprisonments have more stakes in defending democracy than any other groups in Africa,” he said.
He therefore called on organized labour movement to condemn and resist any “undemocratic short cut” to power, adding that “sustainable development is only possible through rules and process which only democracy guarantees”. “There is a long assured road to prosperity through democracy, while short cut thorny path of military regimes perpetuates poverty, lack of accountability and underdevelopment” he said.
Aremu commended the resolution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to impose sanctions against the military regimes in Guinea and Mali.