Adams Oshiomhole, national leader of the governing party (APC) says organized labour must be ruthless and aggressive to enforce the rights of workers in Nigeria.
According to the former Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) president, workers are being squeezed with regards to salaries in that their earnings typically remain static whereas prices of goods and services increase astronomically.
“Just to tell you that from inside, I am much more convinced that unions should not only exist, but should have the capacity and ruthlessly deploy that capacity to ensure that the resources of states are dissipated in favour of working people and working families,” he said .
Oshiomhole made the clarion call in Abuja at a reception in honour of the director-general, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder.
“We have to do things differently about minimum wage.”
“So if every other costs are changing, and labour cost is constant…, somebody is being squeezed,” he said.
“Rising crises, stagnant wages, a very miserable lifestyle, and you have to fight for that.
“And we now see in Nigeria the difference between signing an agreement and the challenge of translating those laws, and even the contradiction of signing laws first before getting consultants to tell us how to implement these laws.
Extolling the ILO for its focus on Youth Employment and Social Justice, Oshiomhole said the focus should also be on aging population and underemployment of young persons.
He said Nigeria ought to do something about its population growth which is at 3 per cent annually, as against 2 percent national economic growth.
“With population at 3 per cent, poverty must be endemic, it is not rocket science, so we need to have conversations on various aspects of society, particularly at what we do differently to get the youth busy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ILO DG, Guy Ryder, said Nigeria trade union movements have made great impact in defence of basic fundamental rights in line with the provisions of the organisation.
According to him, the organised labour has also played extraordinary role in building the nation’s democracy, saying the consistency was in line with the fundamental values of the ILO.