In order to achieve real-time compromise from government, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have been advised to reduce government’s patronage and involvement in the union’s electioneering processes.
A defined level of independence must be enshrined in the respectability of the union to garner poise, veteran labour leader, Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay stated during the 2019 NLC National Leadership Retreat in Enugu.
Macaulay, a former Secretary to Delta State Government now, Director General, Warri Uvwie and Environs Special Area Development Agency (WUEDA), while delivering a paper titled, ‘Engaging Governments At State Levels’, stressed the need for labour leaders to raise a leadership that would be willing to sacrifice its comfort in defence of the economic interest of workers.
According to him, the heavy clampdown on dissenting voices of Labour in most states was a pointer to a serious disconnect between government and labour.
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He called for more critical involvement of the union in the process of political participation in each state across the country.
His words, “In engaging the state governments, the NLC State officials also have to deepen the level of political education among their members. This is very important because of its entirety of activities that surround collective bargain.”
“Another aspect of struggle is the need to be actively involved in a wider class struggle. To achieve this mandate, unions must collaborate with civil societies, socialist groups, radical student groups, progressive political parties amongst others.” He added.
The former NLC Chairman of Delta State posited that labour unions are a necessity if the interests of workers are to be adequately catered for even as he stressed the need for unions to be proactive in their quest for the common good of members.