By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— THE Senate has begun moves to sanction private companies and institutions that disallow workers’ unionism in their organisations as it, yesterday, mandated its Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity to, as a matter of urgency, draw up measures that would ensure compliance with labour unionism in work places.
The Senate has also urged the committee to ensure that companies that have proscribed unionism are appropriately sanctioned.
Resolutions of the Senate, yesterday, were sequel to a motion by Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) and entitled, “The need to sanction private companies and institutions that disallow workers’ unionism in their companies.”
Earlier in his presentation, Senator Shehu Sani said: “The Senate: Notes with profound distress the deteriorating conditions under which the workers of this country function, particularly with the recent downturn of fortunes of Nigerian economy;
“Worried that their very dismal condition is now increasingly compounded by the unacceptable practices and policies of some private companies and institutions that disallow labour unionism and related forms of workers’ associations;
“Aware that Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that:
“Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any association for the purpose of his interests.
“Aware also that global best practices as well as myriad international labour laws and conventions, many of which Nigeria has acceded to and is a Party, recognize this inalienable right of the worker to unionize and associate freely.”
“Recalls that sometime in early 2017, the Nigeria Labour Congress organized a mass picket of the corporate headquarters of the telecom giant MTN Nigeria, to protest the decision of the company to proscribe unionism in the company;
“Worried that the intolerance of unionism has become increasingly rife among private companies and institutions in Nigeria, including private universities, in blatant disregard of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
“Recognizes that this practice, having effectively silenced and weakened the voice as well as the collective platform of workers’ power, leaves them vulnerable to super exploitation and work place victimization;
“Contends that this ignominious act infringes on the fundamental rights of the Nigeria worker and ought therefore to be challenged, halted and reversed in the present democratic dispensation, and under the watchful eyes of this Distinguished 8th Senate who, by the express Will of the People and the Divine Will of the Almighty God, are the elected representatives and voice for the Nigerian people, workers inclusive.”