The Nigerian Labour Congress has stated in clear terms not to be removed from the Exclusive list.
In a statement titled, “Labour on the Legislative Exclusive List”, the national President, Ayuba Wabba, noted that labour issues were presently domiciled in the Second Schedule, Legislative Powers, Part 1, Exclusive List, Item 34.
He made this assertion in Abuja on Tuesday 9th February 2022.
Wabba maintained that labour should not be one of the items that should be devolved to the states for the sake of the country’s interest, security and industrial harmony. While explaining how it came to be on the Exclusive list, Wabba noted that the nation-states legislation on Labour was driven substantially from the International Labour Organisation conventions, protocols and recommendations domesticated through the Acts of Parliament. This, according to him, explained the near uniformity of labour laws across the nations of the world and the relative global industrial order, harmony and an attraction for foreign investment.
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He noted that the above reality realised that 17 days after independence in 1960, under a democratic government, Nigeria fell in line by rectifying and domesticating the International Labour Organisation’s conventions 87 and 98, guaranteeing the right to organize and collectively bargain.
He maintained that Nigeria had since adopted all core conventions in its capacity as a sovereign nation that regularly attends ILO meetings in line with international best practices.
Wabba opined that the reasons for Nigeria’s relative industrial growth and development, and evolution into an investor’s haven were partly attributed to its willingness to subject itself to the global order and corpus of international standards.
He said ILO was created in 1919 by the Versailles Peace Treaty, ending World War 1 along with the League of Nations to address widespread demands for social justice and improved living standards for the world’s working class.
According to him, this act had survived World War ll and presently serves as a specialized agency of the United Nations, dedicated to promoting labour standards globally.
He stated the 36 states of the federation and the FCT are not sovereign and cannot be members of the ILO. Deregulating labour to them would create intractable problems.
The labour president also noted that a corpus of labour legislation across the 36 states and the FCT would almost certainly create a crisis in the judiciary. He cited the third reason for investors being scared away as they would consider the plethora of problems from the states as an unnecessary addition to the already hostile operating environment.
All these he said would whittle down patriotic zeal in the workers who often act in the national interest.
adding that the anticipated hurdles that labour would advocate strongly against its removal from the Exclusive List, noting that, not even during the military era was such a thing contemplated.