NECA Decries Decadence In Industrial Relations
Culled: New Telegraph
The Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has flayed the current state of lawlessness exhibited by some labour unions in their bid to compel employers agree to their yearnings. Director General of the association, Olusegun Osinowo, registered the association’s displeasure in Lagos. He said the current state of industrial relations could be captured in a single phrase as decadence, chaos, lawlessness and disharmony.
Osinowo said that the rule of law, cherished age-old values of good industrial relations practice, and respect for structure and jurisdiction have all given way to the law of the jungle; might is right and survival of the fittest seems to be the order of the day.
“On account of our fear of strikes and impact on the economy, we have now turned the unions to little gods that must be appeased with libation even if that would mean sacrificing the rights and interest of other key economic actors in the country, whose activities are crucial to the economic development of our nation.
Now, there is no limit to the rights of the unions and issues on which the unions could establish prima facie right of negotiation,” he said. Describing Nigeria as one of the least productive countries in the world, if not the least on account of colossal man-hour lost to incessant strikes and picketing, he said that an economy bedeviled and plagued by frequent strikes could not be productive or be investors’ first port of destination.
He observed that the situation had been worsened by the failure of the Ministry of Labour and Employment to act impartially and decisively based on the rule of law, working with security agencies, to protect the rights of the employers and other stakeholders and compel the unions to obey the laws of the land on strikes, picketing and trade dispute management.
According to him, the ministry itself, therefore, requires radical and wholesale reform to position it for the challenges of today’s economy and workplace. Its workforce requires the right attitude, competence and professionalism to engage the social partners in robust discussion that will promote industrial harmony and protect the rights of all economic actors. “There is, therefore, an urgent need for the reform of industrial relations system.
The objective of such a reform should be to promote an enabling environment suitable for wealth and job creation. The reform must aim at promoting the rule of law, respect for the sanctity of procedural and substantive agreement and responsible use of strikes and lock-outs as tools for collective bargaining.
“We, therefore, encourage the Ministry of Labour and Employment to articulate and share with the social partners government’s reform agenda for the industrial relations system. The ministry may jump-start this process by setting up a tripartite-plus committee, which should include respected scholars of industrial relations and relevant stakeholders,” he added.