TUC chides employers over alleged anti-labour practices

TUC President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama

TUC President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has urged the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) to stop its primitive policy of ‘slave labour’ and embrace international labour best practices.

In a press statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the TUC President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama, alleged that in Africa, NECA has the worst record of enslaving workers in the private sector by not providing conducive working environment, encouraging casualization of workers, and payment of peanuts as wages, which has led to picketing of many NECA members by Trade Unions.

Kaigama who was reacting to a statement credited to NECA’s Director-General, Olusegun Oshinowo, said it was wrong for NECA to say that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment is ineffective because it allows trade unions to collect check-off dues and call out their members on strike.

Besides, TUC President stressed the need for NECA’s top hierarchy to familiarize themselves with the historical development of Nigerian Trade Union movement and the evolution of automatic check-off dues.

He recalled that the main reason for the 1978 restructuring of the trade unions was to make them formidable and financially viable in line with the recommendation of Michael Abiodun Committee.

“Prior to the restructuring, the trade unions in Nigeria depended largely on donations from foreign labour centres and political parties in the country and these posed grave national security challenges.

“It was to check this threat and ensure that the trade unions are financially independent that the then military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo accepted the recommendation of Michael Abiodun Panel that the trade unions should be granted automatic check-off dues,” the TUC emphasized.

According to the labour centre, since the enactment of Decree 22 of 1978 that gave effect to the present trade unions including NECA, there had been a great deal of stability in the movement with its attendant positive impact on the economy.

It posited that in the civilized worlds of America, Europe, and Asia, trade unions have the right to embark on strike to drive home their demands.

“At any rate, if Oshinowo and his fellow travellers in NECA have engaged in international labour best practices by paying the living wage, providing a conducive working environment, stop casualization of workers, etc, the trade unions in the private sector will not be embarking on strikes.

“Besides, the NECA chieftain should realize that Nigeria is governed by laws and regulations and, therefore, his campaign along the line of stoppage of automatic check-off dues will be resisted by the trade unions,” the Union stressed.

Kaigama stated that the state of the strike in the country would have been worse but for the professional manner the Labour Ministry is handling issues in respect of Labour relations in the country.

Moreover, the labour centre pointed out that, Section 5(3) of the Labour Act stipulates clearly that: “upon the registration and recognition of any of the trade unions specified in part A of Schedule 3 of the Trade Unions Act, the employer shall make deduction from the wages of all workers eligible to be members of the union for the purpose of paying contributions to the trade union so recognised,” the TUC emphasized.



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