The Nigeria Labour Congress NLC says that its Delegates Conference would provide Congress the platform to deploy the benefit of evaluation of the state of the nation, the struggles of workers and critical self-examination to develop an agenda and mandate for leadership for the next four years.
The President of the NLC Ayuba Wabba, stated this on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the two-day 12th National Delegates Conference activities that will culminate in the emergence of a new executive for the organisation.
Wabba added that the National Delegates Conference being the highest organ of Congress reviews the activities and engagements of Congress over the preceding four years.
The theme for this year's Conference is Towards a Decade of Activism for the Promotion of Labour Unity, National Re-birth and Development, according to Wabba, resonates with the efforts of the NLC in the past ten years to foster solidarity in the labour movement and engage government and employers on values it holds dear especially issues of good governance and protection of human, social cum workers' rights.
He said,our leadership has led from the front in many struggles to free workers from exploitation.
We have promoted and defended the economic, political, social rights and wellbeing of Nigerian workers, pensioners and our trade unions.
We have fought for decent work. We have resisted casualization of work. We have canvassed for good governance at all levels, championed the fight against corruption, promoted social justice and respect for the rule of law.
Overall, we have defended the cause of a Nigerian nation that is just, democratic, transparent, inclusive and prosperous a society built on social justice and where all citizens can access education, healthcare and can create sustainable wealth, he said.
In defending and promoting the cause of Nigerian workers, NLC said its focus is to build workers' power through organising having worked tirelessly to promote causes that can enhance the quality of life and improve the income and other working conditions of workers.
We have paid close attention to workers' education through our increasingly improved education programmes especially the Rain and Harmattan Schools.
Our collective leadership has provided voice to the voiceless. As a matter of top priority, we have confronted the huge inequality gap in our society.
We have expanded the platform of participation for our women and youth. For the first time in the history of Congress, we have created a democratic youth structure with visible representation at the highest organs of Congress. We have also strived towards the attainment of gender equality and improvements in the conditions of women in the world of work and society in general, the NLC President said.
President Wabba revealed that despite the challenges that trailed the last Delegates Conference, the NLC had kept faith with its programme of Returning to our Founding Principles especially as inspired by our leadership retreats in Calabar and Sokoto in 2015 and 2016.
He said Congress pursued the founding principles of commitment to social justice and investing in genuine struggle for workers and citizenry rights to improved working and living conditions, thus earning the confidence of its members and the global trade union movement.
On the proposed new national minimum Wage for workers in the country, Wabba said, for millions of Nigerian workers, an increase in the minimum wage is urgently needed; in order to ensure a living wage that covers the cost of basic needs for a family.
Workers must be able to freely bargain collectively through their union for wages that reflect the tone value of the work they do and for decent working conditions.
Ayuba Wabba commended the federal government for the release of about N1.9 trillion in the form of bailout, budget support and Paris Club Refund saying it assisted greatly in addressing the non-payment of salary, pensions and gratuity in many states especially worker-friendly State Governors.
He however lamented that in some few instances, the funds were diverted and the situation has not been fully addressed adding that a report from the EFCC and ICPC gave credence to this position.
We must not fail to commend states that applied the bailout funds for the purpose they were meant for. These states include Jigawa, Plateau, Kebbi, Katsina, Yobe, Delta, Enugu, Sokoto, Lagos, Rivers, Cross River, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa and Taraba among others, Wabba said.
The two-day conference is expected to affirm the current leadership of the union led by Wabba for a second term.
President Nigeria Civil Service Union, Lawrence Amaechi told Voice of Nigeria that the affirmation become necessary because of the visionary leadership of Ayuba Wabba led Executive.
Though no ballot paper was printed for this election, there will be a few new entrance who will also be absorbed in the new executive by affirmation.
By the end of Wednesday, it will clear who the new leadership of the NLC are.
More than 700 statutory delegates and observers are expected to take part in the two-day National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Source: Voice of Nigeria