Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu
Health workers in Nigeria and other West African countries have vowed to resist plans by the Nigerian Senate to pass anti-strike legislation, which prohibit workers in the sector from going on strike.
Speaking under the umbrella of West African Health Sector Unions Network (WAHSUN), the workers said the aim of the planned legislation was to circumscribe the legitimate right of workers including those in the health sector, to withdraw their labour power as a final alternative within industrial relations practice.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its 9th plenary meeting in Tema, Ghana, the union however commended the efforts of managements of public health facilities at promoting Occupational Health and Safety measures in workplaces.
It further noted that the implementation of effective OHS policies and procedures require institutionalised collaboration and social dialogue between the trade unions and managements.
Consequently, it called for the establishment of bi-partite OHS committees with representatives of both the trade unions and the managements at workplace level.
“WAHSUN was as well gravely concerned by efforts in the Nigerian Senate and in the Adamawa State House of Assembly at passing anti-strike legislations, aimed at circumscribing the legitimate right of workers including those in the health sector to withdraw their labour power as a final alternative within industrial relations practice.
"WAHSUN-in-session categorically warns against the consummation of these efforts as such would be vehemently resisted.
“WAHSUN appreciated the fact that managements of public health facilities in countries across the sub-region are committed to the promotion of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).
"Considering the peculiarly hazardous nature of work in the health sector, this is a progressive step forward. WAHSUN-in-session however noted that the implementation of effective OHS and policies and procedures require institutionalised collaboration and social dialogue between the trade unions and managements,” the statement added.
The union observed that the global economic crisis has continued with dire consequences, particularly for the working people.
This, it stated, is reflected in rising unemployment and inflation rates. It therefore called on government to concentrate efforts on creating decent jobs and increase social spending.
“Unfortunately, governments have been attempting to find solutions with the same neoliberal tools that constitute the problem, which include; privatisation, deregulation and cuts in social spending.
"WAHSUN-in-session calls for the reversal of this paradigm of development and the enthronement of a people-centred pathway to economic recovery which will include: more and decent jobs; increased social spending and; participatory democracy from below,” the union added.