We Wont Report Ngige To ILO Over Attack On Workers, Says Wabba

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba said on Tuesday that workers have not made tremendous progress under the...

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba said on Tuesday that workers have not made tremendous progress under the current Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige due to his lack of understanding of industrial relations issues and the working of tripatithism which is the hallmark of smooth industrial relations.

The NLC President, however, said that the Congress will not be reporting the Minister to the International Labour Organisation during the forthcoming conference for the attack suffered by workers when they went to picket his house in Abuja.

Wabba who spoke at a two-day preparatory conference for Nigerian delegation to the forthcoming International Labour Conference in Abuja said where issues of industrial relations are kept under the table for a long time without the involvement of the social partners, industrial relations will not work properly.

Apparently referring to the recent face-off between Labour and the Minister, Wabba said “We have not been able to make tremendous progress under this Minister due to the fact that he does not understand issues of industrial relations very well. Industrial relations is not about using force or trying to undermine any of the social partners.

“All partners come to the table on equal footing and there should be recognition of that fact and there should be mutual respect for each other. Where that does not exist, workers will not just fold their hands and allow the gains made in the past to be eroded.
“That is why contestations are started by us and we expect there will be proactive response to address some of those issues. If such responses will not come after two and half years or three years, that is no longer labour relations because these are human beings and they need their issues to be addressed promptly.

“So, it is not about personality, but about the system. If that has not happened, it then means that there is a new element in industrial relations and workers will not fold their hands. If you remember, in 2017, it was the first time workers will protest over an address at the Mayday. That is to tell you that something fundamental has gone wrong and it took the Vice President to come and mend the situation.

“This has been the trend of event and instead of abating it, it has expanded to other areas. That is why labour is not too happy and as social partners, you cant shave our heads in or absence. It is expected that things should be put on the table and dialogue over them. Where that does not happen, you don’t expect workers to take it in like that.”

On why they will not report the recent attack on workers to the ILO now, Wabba said it was out of place to make such reports on the event of the International Labour conference, adding however that there is always opportunity to protest such treatment at the ILO.

He said the preparatory meeting was supposed to have been facilitated by the Ministry of Labour by bringing together other social partners, saying “this type of session is supposed to have been championed by the Ministry of Labour, but it is unfortunate that they have not made the platform available. We don’t have to lament, but we must prepare very well”

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