By Victor Ahiuma-Young
A Deputy President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and a candidate for the presidency of the Congress, Mr. Joe Ajaero, has promised that workers’ welfare will be the main thrust of his administration if elected in next month’s NLC election.
Ajaero, who is also the General Secretary of National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, while unfolding his manifesto at a briefing in Lagos, entitled Restoration Struggle 2015, stressed that workers and their unions would be central in decision-making process.
According to him, “labour is not about work and wages. It also deals with issues that have socio-economic and political impacts on the citizens. Obnoxious policies of the state that inhibit industrial and labour relations would be challenged for the emancipation of the society.
“Therefore, our administra-tion shall espouse the course of liberating the down-trodden through strategic alliances with the civil society, students, the clergy and other progressive allies in ensuring that we achieve these aims.”
Ajaero also assured that financial undertakings of NLC would be guided by an annual budget with a view to ensuring prudence, accountability and transparency in line with international best practices.
He said: “It is unacceptable that a responsible organization such as NLC would not have annual budget to define her operations. We are leaders and most times we are involved in the critique of government and employers in their unguided expenses. We should, therefore, purge ourselves of such anomalies.”
He insisted that every income and expenditure, during his tenure, would be properly defined in the budget.
On unionization, he said his administration would work vigorously to ensure that 500,000 potential members are unionized annually.
He said potential members abound in the formal and informal sectors, adding that people needed to be emancipated because they were enmeshed in labour slavery without a voice.
He said: “Every Nigerian worker has the right to be liberated from uncanny, treacherous and inhuman labour. It becomes our responsibility to liberate these people from such evil situation by organizing them into trade unions.”
Ajaero also pledged that the labour movement would fight casualization policy in public and private establishments to a logical conclusion, contending that extant labour laws pertaining to casualization must be observed.
“We must as a matter of necessity, vigorously engage in anti-casualization drive until every worker enjoys regular appointment and begins to exhibit the much-desired dignity in labour,” he added.