Industrial Action: NLC Accuses Lawmakers Of Gagging
The Nigeria Labour Congress has advised members of the National Assembly, particularly members of the House of Representatives, to drop their proposed bill that was meant to outlaw strikes and other industrial actions, particularly by health care workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Union.
A Member of the House of Representatives from Enugu State, Simon Atige, had championed a bill titled, ‘An Act to amend the Trade Disputes Act, cap T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004,’ y meant to prohibit medical practitioners in the employment of federal, state and local governments in the ‘essential service’ sectors from embarking on strikes.
The bill was also meant to accelerate administrative and judicial proceedings in the determination of trade disputes involving them and related matters.
NLC said the move was a deliberate attempt to gag the workers and legally weaken their strength, so they can lose legal backing to pursue their legitimate rights which mostly come from strikes and other industrial actions, and they won’t accept it.
NLC President Ayuba Wabba, who addressed journalists in Abuja, on the proposed bill, said that Nigerian workers won’t accept the bill and would use all available means and strength to stop it.
Wabba said the proposed bill was an outright violation of the fundamental human rights of workers and also a violation of some sections of the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, particularly on the Freedom of Association which Nigeria is a signatory to.
The NLC President disagreed with the plan to categorise health care workers under JOHESU as “essential” service providers by the bill, hence they won’t be entitled to strike.
He, thereby, made reference to some sections of the ILO document particularly on Freedom of Association which only recognised air traffic controllers as essential service workers.