Non participation of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) in the last 2 days warning strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), got Nigerians in different quarters talking about the relationship between the duo and what they must do to strengthen their negotiating powers and stop government from taking the organised labour for a ride. CHRISTIAN APPOLOS, brings excerpts.
NLC, TUC Must Restrategise, Work Closely. Edmund Bello, Medical Doctor For the labour movement to be effective in any country, there has to be unity of purpose. Right now in Nigeria, because of the democratization of organised labour space in 2004 when TUC came on board, we now have two labour centres. However, both labour centres must actually work closely together for any meaningful goal that labour is pursuing with government to be attained. But a situation where NLC is saying this is the way to go and TUC is saying otherwise, such situation will play out to the advantage of government.
So unless NLC and TUC are just taking the workers they lead for a ride, they must get their act together. Secondly, the struggle to salvage Nigeria is no longer a matter the organised labour alone should pursue. Because those bad policies of government critically affects every citizen. So the time has come for labour to strategically reach out to the wider society. The two labour centres must reach out to different groups in the society so that their protests and strike will be laudable and more productive. Market women and men, artisans and civl society groups must be reached by labour because the struggle now concerns every body. Labour must re-strategise.
NLC, TUC Must Form Stronger Alliance .Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Media Practitioner. Originally, Nigerian masses expect that the two labour centres should form strong alliance and work together in the interest of negotiating and getting a better deal to improving workers’ and the citizens’ welfare. So it is important they work together because government always exploit their disagreement whenever one says it’s doing this and the other said otherwise.
If they make a duty to work together in purpose and action, it will go along way to ensure workers interest is protested and guaranteed. Government always look for loopholes. And whenever it appears there is disagreement between them, it certainly affect the seriousness government attach to any issue they bring forth and of course how will attend to their demands. So the two labour centres working together in alliance will make government to think twice before the dish out policies. So if they’re truly interested and serious in fighting and defending workers’ welfare and interest and by extension the Nigerian masses, they will find a way to work together.
They Have To Be Smarter Than Government. Ubani Ikedichi Emenike, Lecturer. Apparently government uses the tactics of the more you look the less you see for them. NLC and TUC have to be smarter. They should find a way to also make government think they are in disunity whereas they are working together. All over the world labour unions are formidable force that brings about change. For long in Nigeria their impact in challenging and getting government to do things differently is fading seriously. They need serious but smart collaboration to reinvigorate their power, position and importantly get better deal for workers and citizens. They may have different interests but they can still work together on those interest. NLC can assist TUC to get what it wants and TUC can also do them. They have enmark serious negotiating power to themselves by forming strong alliance.
They Need To Utilize The Strength Of Numbers. Michael Oche, Labour Migration Enthusiast. Collaboration between the two labour centres(NLC and TUC) is the best way to go. Because there is strength in the numbers. And workers issues irrespective of whatever cadre, whatever affect one worker affect others. So I think government has always done it best to smartly create and use divide and rule kind of strategy to whittle down their power.
Am advise is that both labour centres should put their heads together especially their leadership should realize that the interest is about workers and the struggle is about liberating workers from every form of oppression and exploitation, especially with the current economic reality. I don’t think the current economic hardship affects only a group of persons or group of workers, it affects every worker. From transportation to rising cost of food, rent and other goods and services. So the best way to tackle this is to collaborate and agree on the best strategy. Collaboration is key and very important to achieve goals whether to get government take action that will cushion hardship or in any other issue. So the labour centres should also extend the collaboration with civil society organisations which covers the other group of people in the society.
Synergy Is Key For Any Struggle To Succeed .Magnus Dokugbo, Economic Analyst. Collaboration, synergy is very important for any struggle to succeed. But in as much as NLC and TUC are working for the interests of Nigerian workers, it is important to note that they both have their interest. So issue of interest must surely come in. So, if at some point either NLC or TUC feels that they will get a better deal working alone, then there will be divergent.
However, everybody knows that collaboration is key to winning better deals and it pays. So it is good and important that they work together.
Workers’ Interest Should Unite Them.Olugbenga Williams, Researcher. Irrespective of other affiliations and interests, NLC and TUC are the organised labour we have. And as a matter of fact, they are working for the interest of Nigerian workers and citizens. So they should speak in one voice to avoid divergent views. Because divergent views leads to weakness and the masses will eventually suffer from such situation. Apparently, the two labour centres are the mouthpiece of the masses, and once their oneness is shattered, the ordinary Nigerian people will suffer tremendously. So my opinion is that they should work together for the collective interest of Nigerians. Individual interests should not override the welfare and better living condition for workers and general interest of the people they represent, is very essential.
They Should Collaborate In Purpose. Frankwhite Nzeh, Film Maker. I think that NLC and TUC should collaborate more often to drive the demand for a better living condition for workers and Nigerians. The two may have different interest in some issues, but should still work together to assist each other to achieve their goals. It is more profitable if they collaborate, that is; supporting each other, especially in this times that government is less willing to show good will to the suffering of the citizens. For instance, I expected TUC should to joined the last warning strike. But going forward, both of them should see reason to discuss, agree and collaborate, so that they will be able to hold government accountable, have more negotiating power and achieve a greater goal. Truth be told, workers and the entire citizens are going through excruciating hardship right now. And even if government decides to increase salary by 300%, that will only lead to hyper inflation. So the two must collaborate to get a better deal for Nigerians. So I implore them to always collaborate.
Unity Is Power, They Need It. Arnold Anucha, Political Analyst. It is very important for organizations inclined to work in unity. Unity is power. So if NLC and TUC are united in purpose, automatically they will be able to achieve whatever aim or desire they have. But divided: this person is chasing that and the other person chasing another desire, apparently they will not achieve much in the end. And that is what government and politicians want. Government work hard to divide every organization or association that challenges its decision and powers and it ensures they won’t there won’t be unity of purpose on the side of the masses. So I think it will be more fruitful for every union and association under NLC and TUC to work together so as to get better deals.
United They’ll Stand But Divided They’ll Fall. Tunde Oguntola, Columnist. We all know the popular maxim that says, “united we stand but divided we fall”. The truth is, once they are not united on a common front, they will surely fail. Because one will surely sabotage the efforts of the other. So they have to unite together if they, as the organised labour must achieve their goals. The government of the day seems not be willing to do the needful in terms of workers getting a better welfare, I am talking about a living wage instead of a minimum wage of 30,000. This and many other issues are the reasons they should come together, have a common ground to fight. So that not only the workers but Nigerians will enjoy a good living condition.
NLC, TUC Should Be Unpredictable. Collins Olayinka, Labour Industrial Relations Analyst .The two labour centre are working together and they should continue working but strategically. They should be smarter and unpredictable. For instance, people felt that because TUC was not part of the last 2 days warning strike NLC observed, they were divided but I say no. Not at all. It was strategic. While TUC was in the negotiating room getting all that should gotten from such negotiations, NLC was on the streets, pilling social pressure on government to do something. So, government in this case was boxed into a corner. So no one can accuse labour of not wanting to negotiate. On the other hand, Nigerian people cannot abuse labour of not wanting to demonstrate. So knowingly or unknowingly, the strategy worked in their favour of organised labour. So they were able to satisfy government, Nigerian people and their members at the same time. They need each other and they must continue to fashion out better ways to engage the kind of government we have now.