10.09.2004 General News

TUC expresses concern about new labour law in Nigeria

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Accra, Sept. 10, GNA - The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has expressed concern about the reported passage of a new Labour Law in Nigeria which it said undermines the existence of the Nigeria Labour Congress. In a press release in Accra, signed by the Secretary-General, Mr. Kwasi Adu-Amankwa on Friday, the TUC said the law has the potential of weakening trade union organisations in Nigeria as a whole.

It said; "As we understand, the law includes provisions that seek to deregister the Nigerian Labour Congress as a central organisation; impose restrictions on the right of workers to use the medium of strike in pursuit of grievances; totally ban strikes in the aviation industry and provide discretionary powers to the Ministry of Labour to register or not register new labour centres and to also determine the centre to which a union must seek affiliation."

The rest are; "It seeks to impose renewed application for membership by workers who are already members of existing trade union organisations, and last but not the least restrict the administration of the check-off system and make check-off system deductions contingent on the union deposing to a no-strike-clause agreement."

The press release said the Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, who visited Ghana on Wednesday as Chairman of the African Union has expressed its commitment to good governance, democracy and the active participation of civil society in the socio-economic and political development of the continent and would set example in providing room for the existence and growth of strong and vibrant civil society organisations.

"The NLC has proved itself to be a powerful force for democratic change and for the improvement of the lives of the workers and the poor in Nigeria. An attack on the NLC and the organisation of Nigerian workers is a blow at democracy and takes us back to the ugly past of military dictatorships and one-party states which Africa has committed itself to move away from through the AU."

The statement said the TUC in Ghana calls on President Obasanjo to review his position on the new labour law and refuse to give Presidential assent to "this pernicious piece of legislation."

"We call on President Obasanjo to institute a process for enacting a new labour law that provides room for the voices of the Nigerian workers and their trade unions to be properly heard and taken into account."

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