President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba has alleged that the Nigerian government is plotting to proscribe the labour union.
Wabba told the Committee on Application of Standard that the government has forwarded a new bill to the National Assembly which will disorganize the nation’s industrial relations landscape.
According to him, “A new version of the Collective Labour Relations Bill is not a product of consultation and largely different from the one we have made inputs to some years ago. Strangely, this new version was to be surreptitiously passed into law, but for our vigilance and the candor of the parliament to undertake due diligence.
“Evidence of our claim that the intentions of the amendment were to undermine trade unions and unnecessarily distort our industrial relations landscape and temperature can be seen in one of the portions of this new bill which says ‘if after two years of commencement of the application of this Act, and the Nigeria Labour Congress has not amended her constitution to conform to this Act, it shall stand proscribed’.”
He added that “the mention of the name of our organisation in a draft proposal for amendment betrayed the undisguised malicious intention of the amendment.”
The NLC President maintained that “interference in collective negotiation process in the private sector has been a cause of worry to the Committee since 2009.
“The government continues to claim that sectorial collective bargaining agreement must have its blessing before it becomes implementable so that there is no ‘undue economic disruption’ and so it has benchmarks for wages. This clearly contradict Article 4 of this Convention for which the Committee has sharply pointed in this report being discussed by this Conference Committee.
“The Collective Labour Relations Bill the Committee of Experts refers to started over 10 year ago. Still, no end in sight. Aside the process being very slow and delayed, the intention of government with respect to the review and amendments are giving us cause for concerns.
“As against the advice of the Committee of experts to bring labour laws in conformity with the Convention, we can report that, sadly, this is not the case at present. Rather, the government is seeking to use the process to weaken and destroy trade unions and at the same time claiming to expand ‘freedom of association and volunteerism’.”