…calls for revival of Labour Advisory Council
Vice President Industrial Global Union, Comrade Issa Aremu has described the Tuesday (September,15, 2020) rescheduled meeting between Federal Government and organised labour and civil society as a good omen and a worthwhile decision.
Comrade Aremu said the meeting would offer an opportunity for continuous pro-active constant engagement with organized labour and citizens on all policy reforms and socio- economic issues in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last Friday after meeting with Senator Ngige, gave the approval for the relevant government agencies in charge of finance to meet with the labour to present the book on the nation’s economy.
But that was after Labour Unions including the Trade Union Congress, TUC, and many civil society organizations had condemned the recent increase in the petroleum pump price occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy and the electricity tarrif hike and had called for a reversal with immediate effect with threats of mass protests and strikes.
Comrade Aremu, who was also a former Vice President of NLC and former General Secretary of Textile Union why welcoming the proposed parley, observed that policy dialogue in place of what he called “policy dictatorship” was necessary to prevent and apprehend incessant stoppages and protests.
He said in line with relevant ILO conventions dealing with tripartite consultation and social dialogue, people are not just means and tools of development but the end beneficiaries whose inputs are needed to compliment government afforts.
The labour leader called for a revival of the statutory Labour Advisory council Under the Federal ministry of labour to ensure regular engagement between organized labour, business and government on critical labour market issues.
On expectations from Tuesday meeting Comrade Aremu urged Federal government to have an open mind to appreciate that issues at hand go beyond public revenue and pricing for petroleum and electricity to include revival of energy and petroleum industry, decent jobs for sector workers as well as public welfare in an era of COVID;19 pandemic.
He called for proactive engagement in policy formulation on the part of government.
The meeting ealier to hold last Saturday was shifted to Tuesday, 15th Sept after labour complained about short notice.
Meanwhile, a ‘Think Tank’ by the IndustriALL Global Union met last week to discuss union demands on African industrialization in post Covid-19 economic recovery plans.
For many years, IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Africa have been holding annual events and conferences as part of a campaign for the rapid industrialization and sustainable development of the continent which has been moving at a slow pace according to experts.
On 9th September, the IndustriALL Sub Saharan African region convened a ‘Virtual Think Tank Meeting’ attended by 57 participants to discuss African Industrialization during the Covid-19 pandemic, and to come up with “propositions” for economic, trade and investment policies as part of economic recovery initiatives after the pandemic.
The ‘Think Tank’ is part of a series of activities in preparation for the Africa Industrialization Week commemoration from 17-23 November and follows on the virtual Youth and Industrialization conference on 31 July.
The meeting discussed the role of the African Union (AU) in promoting faster industrialization through programmes including the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA) that falls under the Agenda 2063 plan that promoted regional integration. One of the plan’s “flagship projects” is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which became operational in 2019.
The AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade and create thousands of jobs.
The meeting also discussed that union demands should focus on sustainable mining as proposed in the African Mining Vision (AMV).
Kemal Ozkan, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary said the debates on industrialization should shift to sustainable economic development policies especially after the disruption of global supply chains by the Covid-19 pandemic:
“At continental level, we have written to the AU, had meetings with the African Development Bank, and will reach out to the AfCFTA to put forward the trade union demands for sustainable industrialization that will benefit workers and communities.”
“As part of the Africa Industrialization campaigns, in the next two months we are taking the activities to the countries so that trade unions can engage governments at national level. By so doing, we are recognizing the important role that unions can play to influence policy engagement at national level through existing