September 5, 2019

Our challenges in Chemical, and non-metallic products sector – Labour


Members of NLC in front of Minister of Labour’s house during the protest over the refusal by the Minister to inaugurate the Board of NISTF in Abuja yesterday. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

THE 28th annual Industrial Relations Seminar of the National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees, NUCFLRANMPE, took place in the ancient city of Ado Ekiti, Ekite State few days ago.


File: Members of NLC in front of Minister of Labour’s house during the protest over the refusal by the Minister to inaugurate the Board of NISTF in Abuja yesterday. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

Besides over 200 participants drawn from NUCFLRANMPE members across the country, the five day seminar attracted employers in the sector, Labour leaders, industrial relations practitioners among others.

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Welcoming participants, President of the Union, Babatunde Olatunji, noted that charting a new course for effective Industrial Relations in an era of economic instability was a topical issue that could not be delayed till a later time.

He informed that “without sounding immodest, the economic situation in Nigeria is not business-friendly. The instability occasioned by either lack of economic policy framework or unclear economic policy direction and or ineffective implementation of the economic policies is having their tolls on the manufacturing sector of our dear nation.

“It is imperative to discuss and understand the state of Nigeria economy with a view to coming up with adequate approach to cope with the resultant effects. These effects are evident in the evolution of strange practices in Industrial Relations like casualization, contract-staffing, outsourcing, indiscriminate restructuring, and redundancy and so on.

We therefore need this seminar to address the challenges inherent in the present state of Nigerian economy and its implications for industrial relations thereby setting tune for a new industrial relationship without jettisoning industrial peace and harmony.”

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Among others, Olatunji declared that “the Union has a lot of challenges to contend with as a result of new practices in Industrial Relations. Casualization of workers is on the extreme. In recent times, the union has had to negotiate redundancy rather than organizing new members. It has also been observed that some employers are hiding under the guise of economic instability to convert their regular staff to contract staff.  This approach shall not be allowed to stay. In principle; redundancy has to be done according to the provisions of labour laws and with genuine reasons. Efforts are also geared towards unionizing contract and outsourced workers, therefore all hands must be on deck for the success of this approach.”

In his solidarity message, President of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, Mr John Adaji, advised    participants to discuss how to tackle the issue of artificial intelligence threatening the future of workers.

According to him, workers needed to review their strategy and attitude at workplaces, give more attention to productivity as the era of what he described as, ‘’banging tables are over’’.

He urged the union to sustain the programme because it was necessary to come up with an input that would bring positive change in the country to guarantee jobs and future of workers.

Also, the union’s first president, Mr Kayode Akinbode, told the workers in a message tagged, ‘’balance sheets of life”,    that ideas were assets to life; character was their capital; happiness their profit and bad habit their liability.

He urged participants to take advantage of the knowledge acquired from the five days seminar to do the needful to protect their jobs.