By Esenvosa Izah
Lagos, Aug. 9, 2022 (NAN) The Assistant General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Chris Onyeka, on Tuesday said that employers of labour should not see their employees joining labour unions as a disease but a cure to low productivity .
He implored employers of labour to encourage their employees to form and join labour unions to make their workplaces more productive and healthier for the management and the workforce.
Onyeka said this when the management of Lambert Electromec, a Lagos-based electronic company,and their workers signed an agreement that formalised the workers to become union members.
He urged all other organisations to begin to see unions as part of the tools they needed to organise, to make their workplaces more productive and healthier for the workforce.
‘’A union is not a disease, but a cure to low productivity; encourages workplace safety and health;and helps to guard against irresponsible workplace governance.
‘’So, if every organisation understands what the union stands for, it will not be averse to it, but they will rather welcome it.
‘’This is why we invite the organisations to seminars, so that they understand what unionism is all about, so that the misconception will be corrected,’’ he said.
He commended the management of Lambert Electromec for showing greater responsibility and realising the importance of obeying the laws of the land.
‘’Lambert Electromec has decided on their own volition to show responsibility; that they are from now on going to be a responsible organisation; that they will obey the laws of Nigeria.
‘’Also, they will continue to protect the rights and privileges of the workers in their company. And so, from today, there is a union in this organisation; the workers are members of Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria (SEWUN).
‘’The workers are going to negotiate their conditions and terms of employment; they are no more slaves, but are people working in a dignified environment; the workers are now members of NLC, ‘’ he said.
Onyeka expressed concern over the poor perception of some employers of labour over unionising their workers.
The workers under the aegis of Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria (SEWUN) in collaboration with Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had in the early hours of Tuesday picketed the company over alleged anti-labour practices.
However, the Counsel to the Company, Mr Jonathan Ikiebe, said that the management decided to enter into terms of settlement with the workers, which was signed during the picketing.
‘’This matter has been on for about two years; the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) came up with an award, saying we should recognise the union, which we challenged on the grounds that due process was not followed.
‘’We have allowed that to go now; we have agreed that we recognise them as a union in this industry and they can carry on with their activities; we have signed to that effect,’’ Ikiebe said.
The workers expressed their happiness and jubilation following the agreement reached between them and their employer to become union members.