ASSBIFI urges government to reconstitute moribund labour advisory council
The National President, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Oyinkan Olasanoye, has urged the government, to, as a matter of urgency, reconstitute the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC), which has been moribund for over a decade.
She said until the NLAC is reconstituted, the government and employers would continue to deny workers their right to participate in decisions affecting the interest of workers.
NLAC is established in line with the International Organisation (ILO) Convention 144, on Tripartite Consultation and Social Dialogue, which Nigeria has already ratified.
She made the remark in her solidarity message at the union’s meetings in Abuja recently. She harped on the need for trade unions to be strengthened with technical and professional competency to negotiate for better infrastructure, social and economic development.
With the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Olasanoye noted that the gradual change of work methodology to remote and automation are some of the new challenges being faced by the labour movement in Nigeria.
According to her, as automation increases, those with inadequate skills may lag behind and employment rates could soar.She urged labour leaders to bargain for better compensatory measures, legislations protecting the rights of workers and ensuring adequate training for up skilling, right skilling and skills acquisition.
She stressed the need to improve on the use of technology to expand campaigns, and the accessibility of remote and emerging workplace trends by labour leaders.
“Another challenge is not only about employers replacing workers with machinery, but the employment of flexible workforce such as outsourced workers without commitment towards social protection, decent wages, and bypassing of other workplace responsibilities.”
“We need more capacity building to equip us to organise, and negotiate in a complex environment, especially as presented under this COVID-19.
“Employers most especially those in the Organized Private Sector will seize this as an opportunity to pursue anti-union and unions busting agenda, such as provided in Section 45 of the amended Banks and other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Act 2004, where the President is empowered to proscribe any union in the banking sector whose activities he suspected to be against the economic interest of the nation,” she said.
She mentioned some on the challenges facing the trade unions movement in Nigeria to include poor enforcement of the labour laws, lack of political will to sufficiently review the obsolete labour laws, dearth of experienced and committed union leaders, government unilateral decisions on sensitive national issues affecting workers and lack of respect for Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs).
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