By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Unions affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, in Nigeria are seeking engagement with Dangote Group over the unionsiation of its member companies in Nigeria. They however, commended the President of the group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for his drive towards industrialisation of African continent.
At a gathering in Lagos, members of the union, noted that Dangote had generated employment of over 24,000 direct jobs in different countries. IndustriALL Global Union is a force in global solidarity with 50 million workers in 140 countries including Nigeria in different sectors, aims at fighting for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world.
Affiliated unions in Nigeria are National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria NUTGTWN, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, NUPENG, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, CANMPSSAN, National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non- Metallic Products Employees, NUCFRLAMPE, Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria, SEWUN, and National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE.
Africa Regional Secretary of the group, Fabian Nkomo, alongside a representative of Dangote Group, attended the meeting. Addressing the gathering, Chairman of union, African Region, Mr. Issa Aremu, noted that non-unionisation of most workers in Dangote Group had been a serious concern within organised labour in the Africa in particular and the global union in general.
According to him, the meeting was part of the multi-national organising campaign for unionisation in Dangote companies. He contended that it was time Dangote group entered into mutually rewarding engagement with relevant unions with a view to unionising its workers, calling on unions to also support businesses through improved productivity.
Aremu said: “It is now time for Dangote group to ensure there is respect for minimum labour standard as subscribed by Nigeria, by allowing all workers in Dangote Group to freely belong to the unions.” He pledged the support and cooperation of the group to ensure business-friendly unionisation of the Dangote workers.
Speaking, General Secretary of NUCFLANMPE, Mr. Douglas Adiele, highlighted perceived challenges in unionising some of Dangote companies. According to him, NUCFLANMPE unionised workers in Dangote Group in Apapa, and Port-Harcourt before they were closed and relocated to Ibese.
He stated that there was also an “established relationship at Obajana cement before internal crisis disrupted the union. The group does not allow union even though it is not documented.” On his part, Mr Francis Awowole-Brown, a representative of Dangote Group, insisted that the group was labour-friendly and would continue to be so.
According to him: “Alhaji Dangote is a friend of organised labour and has nothing against labour. We have partnered labour in the past and we regard unions as partners in progress. “National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria can bear witness to this as we have been together for a long time. We have been collaborating to ensure workplace, safety, industrial harmony, among others.”