FG, Trade Unions Seek Ways to Strengthen Social Dialogue, Conflict Resolution

*NECA: Only 21% of Nigeria’s poor covered by social safety net  

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The federal government has said it would work with the leadership of the trade unions to reposition the country’s labour administration system in order to achieve greater industrial harmony and socio-economic development.
The move came as the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) said it was shocking that only 21 per cent of Nigeria’s vulnerable population currently had access to the government’s social safety net.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour, Daju Kachollom, who spoke to journalists at the end of a workshop in Abuja, said the essence of the conference was to enable participants brainstorm and suggest strategies for effective labour administration.
Kachollom said, “Efficient conflict resolution mechanisms remain the only panacea for sustaining national growth and development. Regrettably, since 2019, the workshop has not been convened until now.

“The resuscitation of this programme, therefore, is predicated on the determination and commitment of the ministry to constantly strengthen the labour administration system in Nigeria.
“The essence of this workshop, therefore, amongst others, is to acquaint participants with current trends and contemporary issues affecting labour administration in Nigeria, and its implication for sustainable development.”

Kachollom said the workshop would equip participants with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to efficiently manage trade union affairs, workplace disputes, jurisdictional scope dynamics, and unfair labour practices.
“It will also prepare stakeholders on how to handle the current challenges faced in the world of work, as well as how to harness the opportunities presented by the future of work in Nigeria,” she added.

The permanent secretary explained that the fundamental thematic labour administration concepts and principles, such as social dialogue, negotiation, and collective bargaining, as tools for shaping the future of work, improving organisational productivity and workers’ welfare, would be discussed.

Kachollom stated, “These education and empowerment workshops convened annually are essential ingredients for the development of a well-informed workforce which in turn contributes to good governance and the overall reduction in the number of industrial disputes in our workplaces.
“Thus, as change agents and promoters of productivity enhancement, it is clear that the fundamental objectives of decent work and harmonious industrial relations cannot be achieved without your contributions as key actors of the labour movement in this great country.”

Director General of NECA, Mr. Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, noted that with a projection of a substantial increase of approximately 450 million people in Africa’s working-age population of 15 to 64 between 2020 and 2035, there was need to create an environment that fosters gainful employment, promotes inclusivity, and harnesses the potential of youths.

Represented by Femi Paul, Oyerinde added that given statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the youth unemployment rate in Nigeria would reach 40.6 per cent by the end of 2023, all hands must be on deck to equip the youth population with the necessary skills, foster entrepreneurship, and create an enabling business ecosystem that supports job creation.

Referring to the account of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Oyerinde stated that the informal sector played a pivotal role in Nigeria’s economic landscape, providing employment to more than 80 per cent of the workforce.

“Formalising and strengthening this sector will not only enhance productivity and revenue generation but also ensure decent work conditions for millions of individuals, uplifting lives and communities,” he said.

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