With the count down to May 29th Inauguration, the organized labour in trade unions have been advised to forge a sustainable partnership for Decent work Agenda and national development with the in-coming administration of the President- elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his Vice President Kashim Shettima.
The Director General Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, (MINILS), Ilorin, Comrade Issa Aremu gave the advice on Tuesday in Ilorin while declaring open a 2-Day induction Industrial Relations training programme for the newly elected Executive members of the newly formed Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA).
The two day workshop on “Building Harmonious Labour-Management Relationship As a Tool for University Education Stability and National Development” was jointly organized by the Institute and the office of the Registrar of Trade Unions for the newly elected Executive members of the newly formed Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) drawn from various universities in the country.
The Director General observed that the inclusive nature of universities with diverse academic staff, non- academic mass of workers and university administrators makes work relations “all comers affairs” with respect to inevitable grievances and grievance handling process. He however said union officials in academic Institutions require specialized knowledge and wisdom about industrial relations through training and retraining on offer at MINILS to manage the challenges arising from the dynamic world of work.
While commending the two Ministers of labour for facilitating the capacity building for CONUA officials, the Director General said the incessant disputes in universities are reflections of deep knowledge gap on the part of all stakeholders about collective bargaining process, mediation, arbitration, social dialogue and legal framework guiding industrial relations management.
“In today’s world of work, direction has shifted from the traditional methods of organizing, mobilizing and collective bargaining to a more constructive, social dialogue, cooperative partnership and collaboration through social democratic unionism in conformity with best practices” adding “that university management and union leaders must be articulate and embrace the modern industrial relation skills in organizing, mobilizing, bargaining and management in general” .
Comrade Aremu said the inauguration of the new administration of President elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu offered a new opportunity for unions, governments and employers to “rethink and deepen Nigeria/ ILO Decent work agenda with respect to secured and well paid private and public jobs, freedom of association, productivity and workers’ motivation”.
The Director General said the President Elect values labour as a critical success partner in his commendable Renewed Hope agenda through mass youth employment program and end to avoidable strikes in universities through social dialogue. Aremu said the record of labour administration of the President-elect as former two-term governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007 and campaign programme of APC positioned him “as the possible best labour-friendly President” in waiting. According to him, Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the first Presidential Candidate to engage both NLC and TUC members on critical p market issues with promises of social dialogue as means for resolving inevitable disputes in the world of work.”
Aremu who is also the Director of the 75-person Labour Directorate of Asiwaju/ Shetima presidential campaign Council, PCC, said the record of labour administration of the President-elect as former two-term governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007 and campaign programme of APC positioned him “as the possible best labour-friendly President” in waiting. According to him, Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the first Presidential Candidate to engage both NLC and TUC members on critical labour market issues with promises of social dialogue as means for resolving inevitable disputes in the world of work.”
He described the President-elect and his Vice President as “ tested and trusted democratic state and non-state icons” who would consolidate on some of the pro-labour legacies of President Muhammadu Buhari and engage organized labour on all outstanding issues of the living wage, gender equity, pension, labour motivation, productivity, social protection and dispute resolutions.
Aremu recalled that the President-elect “had been a frequent visiting friend of labour who often intervened between organized labour and government on contentious policy issues at the time it was not fashionable to do so.
“Lagos State under Bola Ahmed and subsequent governors “have been known to be at the vanguard of improving workers’ welfare, and not only implemented all the minimum wages passed in the last 20 years but have not been known to have defaulted in salary payment to its workers, despite the withheld Local Government Fund. The state still prioritizes payment of salary for its workers including local government employees and Lagos has successfully implemented the contributory pension scheme to ensure healthy retirement and guarantee regular payment of pension to workers in future.”
Aremu said “while many states are yet to sign on to compulsory Contributory Pension Scheme ( CPS), Lagos since 2007 has paid as much as N 150 billion to almost 30, 000 retirees. The President-elect remains the best labour-friendly that would guarantee decent work.