ILO Director canvasses for structural approaches to resolving incessant strike in Nigeria 

By Rita Esegine

The Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country office in Abuja, Ms Vanessa Phala, has favored structural approaches in the resolution of industrial crisis such as the lingering strike that currently closed down the entire tertiary education in Nigeria. 

She stated that; “Structural approaches are those that allow actors to settle in a sustainable perspective of prevention and management of concerns and crises. They offer actors permanent frameworks, mechanisms and tools capable of taking charge of the relationships and crises they generate. They range from the renovation of existing frameworks to the creation of new frameworks and the implementation of strategic instruments and collective agreements.”

The ILO country Director, said this at a recent Joint Workshop on International Labour Standards and Labour Disputes Resolutions, held in Abuja and  organised by the Industrial Arbitration Panel in Collaboration with ILO. 

She noted that; “The need for the promotion of social dialogue has been imposed to the labour market actors as an instrument of social and economic governance to not only create the confidence necessary for the attractiveness of investment and the productivity, but also to curb the various social crises that have marked and are still marking the working and production relations.”

She went on to say; “Over the past three years, there have been several social movements and multiple strikes in many countries. The main causes of the state of labour relations are quite diverse but can be reduced to: The lack of control over the rules of the game by the actors. The lack of strategy of watch, prevention and anticipation. The lack of mastery of the fundamentals of the national economy and its requirements The politicization of the union world. The multiplication of ad hoc bodies Lack of mastery of negotiation techniques and conflict management skills.

“The lack of mastery of the fundamentals of trade unionism and trade union action Non rationalised pluralism of the union landscape. Lack of coordination and synergy between social dialogue institutions and structures. The lack of mastery of the basics of a business economy Non-compliance with commitments. The approximate functioning of certain institutions. The weakness of collective bargaining. Low participation of women in dialogue forums and in the steering of employers ‘and workers’ organizations. The non-determination of representativeness union. The renewal of the union class without a prepared and trained succession.”

Furthermore, she said; “Nigeria is one of the economic area of the world that has known an important and positive growth in the current decade. This progress is due to the dynamism pertained by all the stockholders involved in the industrial relations. The process of production of goods and services generates problems all the time and the actors must find solutions in order to let the process going on. 

“The main way to find solutions is social dialogue. Social consultations and bargaining offer opportunity to social partners and governments to create the conditions of productivity or competitiveness. Through social dialogue people interact efficiently to protect their particular and common interests. Social dialogue becomes a useful tool of the governance of labour market.

“In this perspective, social dialogue helps actors to implement vision and goals and one of those goals is decent work for all. Reaching decent work by social dialogue is an honourable way of humanisation of industrial relations, a fair way of making sustainable growth and progress.”

Speaking on way forward, she said; “We must develop and make them more proactive. Prevention will allow us to preserve resources like finances and time. Prevention will help to stabilise industrial relations by offering opportunity to scrutinize the labour market and its trends and to tackle emerging conflicts.

“It will be productive for us to act on laws, regulations and institutions. We must update our rules and bodies to the development of our society in order to cover new and emerging situations and new labour relationships.
“We must also act on people by offering them genuine and suitable package of trainings and tools. They must be able to find original solution to their challenges.

“We have to invest in studies and researches to quantify what could be the impact of social dialogue. and, collective. bargaining in our development processes. We should develop indicators and parameters to measure social and industrial relations and how their governance impacts productivity.
“If we invest in these domains, I am sure we shall stand and win the battle against poverty and misery. But we must know that workers pass through borders and frontiers. And they pass with their problems, concerns and sometimes with their maladies and disabilities. Money and affairs ignore borders and nationalities. Poverty doesn’t know what is customs nor passport. With these evidence, it must be clear for everybody that integrative and regional initiatives would give us more chance and more potential to tackle vulnerabilities and to make our economies more sustainable and resilient.”


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