Nigeria: trade unions under attack

While the international union condemns the assassination of Alhaji Saula Saka, Lagos State Chairman of the National union of transport workers, in these days trade unionists are debating over Nigerian government’s laws aimed at weakening the labour movement. Collins Olayinka, journalist of the Guardian newspaper, reports from Abuja. 

The decentralisation of labour unions by the Federal Government was done in bad faith and an overall agenda to weaken labour capacity to respond to obnoxious government policies that are deemed inimical to the well-being of Nigerian workers, the General Secretary of Non Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Peter Adeyemi has alleged.

Adeyemi, who is also NLC deputy national president, stated this in Abuja at the just concluded 4th Delegates Conference of NASU.

His words: ” The decentralisation of the labour unions and passage into law the trade union Act was design to weaken the solidarity of unions. The industrial relations system in Nigeria witnessed the greatest form of abuse as evident in anti-union posture of the immediate past regime.”

He listed such abuses to include the arbitrary right-sizing and down-sizing in the federal civil service, increase in the prices of essential consumables, petrol and kerosene.

Adeyemi expressed regret that the political class, whose ideology is directed towards full and unbridled capitalism, governed the nation.

“This situation gives the belief that the concern of government was not about social responsibility and welfare rather on economic structures that promote interest of a few,” he said.

The labour leader further noted further that while the environment was subjected to democracy, the democratisation process and its structures were not in existent.

Adeyemi, who attributed this worrying development to a high wired corruption by government officials added that “the industrial relations system was therefore faced with the problem of non adherence to the rule of law, due process and gross abuse.”

The Provincial Chairperson of the South African National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), Joseph Mpisi opined that for the continent of Africa to have vibrant trade union movement, there is need to establish strong solidarity amongst workers not only on the continent but of the world.

“Our own large numbers, our own organised strength is our only weapon to fight against the neo-liberal agenda that is threatening trade unionism in the world and for us to defeat various injustices done to our members, we must unite not only among ourselves on the continent but among ourselves worldwide,” he noted.

Mpisi observed that while the political class claim to be implementing solutions to the many socio-economic problems confronting the peoples of Africa, the reality was that such solutions was against the interests of workers.

He said: ” They are weakening Trade unions rather than strengthening them, they attack the workers rather than work in their overall benefit, yet so much is claimed about the viability of such neo-liberal programmes,” he maintained.

He urged unions all over the globe to return to the drawing board and realign its mandates to suit the present global scenario.

” We need members at all levels to be able to articulate the global neo-liberal agenda so they are equipped to fight the challenges. This strength is often being weakened by privatisation, outsourcing and retrenchments,” Mpisi stressed. 


ITUC condemns the assassination of Alhaji Saula Saka 
Union rights in Nigeria
ILO Labour Standards in Nigeria
Human rights watch page on Nigeria

4 Responses to “Nigeria: trade unions under attack”

  1. 1 Clever Edefah February 23, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I am a fellow Nigerian. I am interested in Contact address, phone, Fax and Email of th Nigeria Trade Union Congress.
    I have just returned from a three day conference at Eastbourne arranged by the TUC in Great Britain. I feel that there is a need for a dialogue between us.
    Thank you.
    Clever Edefah.

  2. 2 Madukife Ubadinma Obiamaka May 27, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    How many peaple are required to form a trade union in Nigeria

  3. 3 Clever Edefah May 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I am interested in contacting a fellow trade unionist in Nigeria to see how Nigerian Trade Union can learn from Britain.
    Clever Edefah.
    Mob: 07780178472.

  1. 1 how to trade commodities Trackback on July 17, 2008 at 5:59 am

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