AfDB: Organised Labour calls on US, world powers to respect African choice

The Organised Labour has unanimously called on the United States (US) and other world powers with interests in the African Development Bank (AfDB) to allow the will and choice of African countries who are satisfied with the stewardship of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, as President of the bank.

The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and International Trade Union Congress (ITUC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who voiced the position of the labour movement said the Organised Labour lent its support to the re-election of Dr. Adesina, as the president of AfDB.

Comrade Wabba spoke, while expressing the opinion of the working people of Nigeria, during a meeting with the leadership of the House of Representatives, led by its Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The ITUC President said: “The Organised Labour supports the re-election of the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). We lend the voice and support of the Organised Labour in Nigeria to the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. We call on world powers with interests in the AfDB to allow the will and choice of African countries who are satisfied with the stewardship of Dr. Adesina so far. We also express our support for his re-election.”

Wabba, who led the leadership of NLC to parley with the leadership of the House of Representatives, raised a number of concerns on other issues affecting labour and industrial relations sector in the country.

He called for immediate review of the Labour Law, saying that the Nigeria Labour Law Review started in 2005 through a tripartite process in conformity with the ILO standard.

He said: “In continuation of this process, between February and March 2020, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, and the social partners – Organized Labour in Nigeria (the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress) and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association held a retreat.

“The purpose of the retreat was to adjust Nigeria’s labour laws in tandem with global best labour standards practices. The retreat considered five bills: Amendment to Trade Union Act, Collective Labour Relations Bill, Labour Standards Bill, Labour Institution Bill, and the Occupation Safety and Health Bill. These five bills had been earlier presented to the National Assembly in 2008. The bills went through legislative process including public hearing and was passed by the House of Representatives.”

Wabba raised the issue of casualisation of labour, which he described as the most topical infraction in Nigeria’s industrial space today.

According to the NLC President: “This is a situation where workers are hired by third party recruiting agencies and seconded to workplaces as slave workers without recourse to decent labour, social protection and just wages commensurate with industry standards. We urge the National Assembly to deploy its legislative powers to strengthen extant labour laws by outlawing casualisation of work in Nigeria.

“We cannot allow slave drivers who pose as employers continue to take advantage of the unemployment situation in Nigeria to commoditise labour and dehumanise our people. We will not allow the struggle for Nigeria’s independence to be mocked by a new generation of slave drivers.”

He also spoke on what he described as power sector logjam  and continuous exploitation of consumers, therefore, calling for the intervention of the legislatures.

The NLC president said: “During the recent lockdown in some parts of the country, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) attempted to increase electricity tariff. We kicked against it and it was withdrawn. We are tired of the worn argument that we don’t have power because Nigerians are not ready to pay for power. Is it power before tariff or tariff before power?

“Meanwhile, Nigerians are being forced to pay some of the highest electricity costs in the world through estimated billing and use of generators. We urge you to step in and save Nigerians further agony.”

He also asked for National Assembly intervention in the areas of promotion of workers’ fundamental rights in the workplace; deepening the right of workers to associate and unionise, strengthening the independence of trade unions, and institutionalising the national social dialogue space and industrial arbitration.

Gbajabiamila, while responding, said the House considers the issue of casualisation of workers raised by the NLC president a very serious matter, and assured that the House would ensure the amendment of the labour law to accommodate certain concerns.

The Speaker said: “The issue of workers’ right to belong to unions can’t be contested. The constitution guarantees such. On the social dialogue, we’re open to it. Try and bring the amendment. When you bring it, we’ll look at it thoroughly.”





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