Abuja – Some stakeholders in labour relations have admitted that losses from incessant strikes by organised labour outweighed its gains.
They made their views known in a survey (NAN).
One of the respondents, Mrs Jemimah Uchi who is also the Chairman, Agriculture and Allied Employees Union in Benue, said that only a few people benefitted directly from industrial actions.
“Industrial actions embarked upon by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) affects all facets of the economy.
“Whenever NLC is on strike, all sectors are down, including the private sector, which in some situations, benefits nothing from it.”
Uchi advised governments to employ systematic and sustainable mechanisms, including collective bargaining and political solutions resolve the incessant and recurring strikes in the country.
Similarly, the Head of the Civil Service in Gombe State, Alhaji Aliyu Kamara, said that strikes were not healthy for the economy of the country.
Kamara said the incessant strikes by unions affects the economy and the citizens in diverse ways, thereby impeding development in the country.
Citing the recent nationwide strike by medical doctors nationwide, he said it imposed untold hardship on the people, especially the sick.
According to him, the strike is not justified, as it generally has not yielded any positive result.
Kamara said that the strike only crippled the country’s economy as well as affected the citizens in one way or the other.
“Dialogue should be explored since at the end of every strike, the parties will have to discuss.
“There is no need embarking on strike. Dialogue is the solution; let us collectively build our country and not destroy it.
“Even if there is war, reconciliation takes place at a round-table not on the battle field. So, let us explore dialogue to the f
ullest without even going into strike,’’ Kamara said.
He said that those who thought strikes yielded positive results had not really taken their time to measure the damages.
“There are different ways of expressing our grievances but the way they are doing it presently is not proper.
“Let us all work toward same target and I believe greater development of Nigeria is our target.”
Also, Mr Musa Kaibo, the Adamawa Head of Civil Service, noted that strikes strikes at whatever level, directly affected
government systems negatively.
He said that there was nowhere in the history of workers that strikes permanently solved their genuine problems.
According to him, the time spent on strikes if quantified, it amounted to huge loss of government resources and
stagnation of economic development.
He said that workers should not resort to strike for the resolution of industrial disputes always, stressing that
round-table discussion remained the best option.
Also commenting, Mr Amos Buba, an official of the state Ministry of Labour, said the ministry was partnering with
unions to find a lasting solution to common issues of concern.
“At the ministry level, we are taking steps to ensure a close working relationship with workers through dialogue
before embarking on industrial action.”
From Yola, Dr John Amakwette of the Department of Economics, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola,
said strikes had a negative impact on the country’s economy, while workers were always at the receiving end.
“The effects are directly on economic development because the strikes cause decline in national output.”
However, Mr Bem Mela, the President, Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) in the Benue House
of Assembly, disagreed, arguing that gains from strikes outweighed the losses.
Similarly, the Adamawa Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Dauda Maina, said that strike in
a country like Nigeria, was the only instrument for workers to survive.
According to him, industrial action is a collective bargaining tool toward ensuring the economic right of workers
as well as conducive working atmosphere.
Decrying the incessant strikes, the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA),
said it posed personal, collective and socio-economic hardship on the country.
The President of the Chamber, Dr Tim Anosike, said:“workers should know that they are working for two reasons —
their wages and to better humanity.
“We are killing ourselves, our economy and portraying our age-long attitude of pull-him-down syndrome even when
there is no cause for that.
He noted that a lot of revenue that would have been be generated by government through its services had been lost.
“At the end of the day, the same government would pay the striking workers unjustified wages and salaries, what an economic waste.’’
Anosike urged the National Assembly to legislate on the issue, to save the country from further losses and international embarrassment.
In Zamfara, the state NLC Vice Chairman, Mr Isiyaku Tsafe, urged the Federal Government to find solution to strikes because it had
impacted negatively on the nation’s economy.
“There is the need for the government to ensure that the labour sector is equipped with highly experienced labour experts in order to
avoid threats to our nation’s economy.
“If government will attract highly experienced labour experts, it will stabilise the relationship between the government and workers,’’ Tsafe said.
Also, Alhaji Tafa Nasarawa, the Vice Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Gusau Depot, stressed the need to
consider the plight of the people.
Nasarawa said this was the only way to prevent the recurrence of strikes which destroy the nation’s economy.
And in Akure, Mr Dayo Fadahunsi, the Special Assistant to Gov. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, said that most of the strikes by organised
labour were not justified, adding that strikes should always be the last resort after series of negotiations had failed.
He said it was regrettable that unions now used strikes to force government to dialogue whereas the reverse should be the case.
“The strikes are not justified; they are not thinking about the people that will be affected by the strike but themselves.
“Industrial actions should be the last resort; dialogue should come first because so many times after the long strike, they would still
resolve the issues through dialogue.
“For instance, the latest Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) strike did not put the interest of the public in mind; they were talking about
their selfish interest their jeopardising national health.”
In her view, Mrs Juliana Fayehun, the Director of Information Service, Ondo State Ministry of Information, observed that the populace suffered
most during during strikes.
“The incessant strikes have not yielded any positive result but it is the populace that suffer, and government too will lose because it will
pay the workers even though they have not worked.
“Then, what is the rationale behind the protracted strike for months.
“For instance, lecturers of universities and polytechnics will still be paid after sitting at home for many months with the untold negative effects
on our youths and the country,’’ Fayehun said.
Also, Mr Garvey Yawe, the Secretary to the Taraba State Government, called for uniform salary structure.
Yawe, who described the strikes as unhealthy for the nation’s economy, said that policy unification would lay to rest the issue of each group
struggling to get more than the other in terms of wages and welfare package.
“The way out of this ugly trend is to come up with a uniformed policy on salary structure and other welfare packages.’’
Yawe noted that most strikes occurred when workers watched the success of another union using the instrumentality strike.
He called on governments at all levels to work toward correcting the “gross” disparity in salaries and allowances of workers.
The TUC National President, Mr Bobboi Kaigama, said the unions always felt pained each time they had to embark on strike.
“But unfortunately, it seemed to be the only language that the government understood,’’ Kaigama said.
Kaigama said dialogue remained the best means of negotiating workers welfare, adding that both employers and workers
should always embrace it to foster development.
In Nsukka, Enugu State, Dr ifeanyichukwu Abada, the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Nigeria, Nsukka,
corroborated Kaigama’s views.
“It is an undisputable fact that strikes have a negative impact on any economy, since days, weeks or months wasted
during strike will not be recovered.”
According to him, during any strike, especially national strikes, the country loses billions of naira and other things.
“Strike in the education sector altered the academic calendar, therefore, making students to spend more years in their
chosen courses of study.’’
Mr Henry Ezeugwu, a former Chairman, Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, Nsukka Local Government, urged the
government to avert strikes because of the losses at the end of the day.
“Government should strive to avert strikes since at the end, workers who wasted weeks, months are paid salaries for
months wasted,” he said