The federal government has solicited the cooperation of the Nigeria labour Congress in promoting workers’ welfare and national productivity.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, made the request in Abuja when she paid a visit to the President and leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as part of strategy to mobilise critical stakeholders to align with government’s agenda in the Labour sector.
She remarked that without the cooperation of the Labour union, who are the workers’ representatives, it would be difficult for the government to better the lot of Nigerian workers.
The Minister assured the Congress of government’s interest and readiness to work with labour unions to promote the wellbeing of workers, as well as boost national productivity.
Onyejeocha noted that the government needed the cooperation of Labour to create the wealth with which to sustain Nigerian workers.
The Minister also emphasised government’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations to Nigerian workers, but decried the use of strike to resolve industrial disputes as it disrupts the economy.
She therefore urged trade unions to regard strike as the last resort in seeking resolution of trade disputes, pushing for the fulfilment of agreement, or drawing the attention of government to the plight of workers and citizens.
According to the Minister, “Government is interested in the welfare of Nigerian workers. We are interested in their health and the environment in which they work. We are also interested in the wages they earn.
“We will partner with you to ensure that Nigerian workers are satisfied. I am sure you will cooperate with the government to make sure our economy improves. Each time you embark on strike, the Nigerian economy goes down, and we incur a lot of losses.”
Speaking, NLC president, Comrade Joe Ajaero, noted that the Minister’s visit demonstrated care for Nigerian workers, as well as commitment to collaboration with workers’ representatives, and promised that the Congress would always work together with government in the interest of the workers.
He, however, urged the government to desist from violating Trade Union rights, and defaulting on agreements reached with Labour, as such actions brew trust gaps.
Ajaero enjoined the Minister to push for the clearing of the backlog of agreements which government reached with Labour, as further proof of government’s commitment to workers’ wellbeing.
He also explained that they were not in the habit of rushing into strikes, and only resorted to them as the last option.