Solidarity Centre, Trade Unions partner against exploitation of workers

The Solidarity Centre in collaboration with Trade Unions and Civil society organisations in Nigeria are working out modalities to entrench accountability at work places and as well cause government to ensure effective implementation of workers’ rights in the country.

This was reached during a brainstorming sessions at a two-day workshop on “effective enforcement of workers’ rights on freedom of association and collective bargaining through labor and CSOs collaborations” which was sponsored the Solidarity Centre.

The workshop formed the basis for its discussion and objectives on complaints over increasing cases of outsourcing and contract staffing brought forward by trade unions which discourages workers’ rights to unionise and rights to collective bargaining.

Trade unions alleged that many of the employers and business owners intimidate and threaten workers with outright sack should they insist on their rights to belong to an association.

“One of the major objectives of this training is to talk about labour laws and how we can get the government to hold employers accountable,” Solidarity Centre Country Programme Director, Sonny Ogbueh, stated this at the commencement of the two-day workshop.

He explained that over the years, the Centre had provided support in building the skills of trade unions to organise workers

“So, we need to figure out in Nigeria how we can hold employers accountable. There are a lot of violators of labour laws in the country that believe they are above the law. So that is one of the goals of this meeting. We need to find ways to entrench accountability in our labour space,” he said.

“In 2021, we held our first organising academy. It was for the NLC; where we provided skills on organising, recruiting leaders, identifying issues, skills that workers need to grow their unions and power. And after that organising academy, we did support organising campaigns in five sectors. And even though the period of organising was too short: it was about two months, we were able to organise a thousand workers.

“Participants at the workshop identified the need to start building capacity of trade union leaders as well as strategic collaboration with Civil society partners in the quest to improve working conditions for workers,” the country director recalled.