Incessant strikes will lead to loss of credibility, sympathy for unions – Labour leader




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PORT HARCOURT – A labour stakeholder, Mr Chika Onuegbu, has cautioned against incessant strikes to prevent the instrument losing its potency and public sympathy for unions.
Onuegbu, the , Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Rivers, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

He told NAN that strikes only be employed as a last resort.

“However, I caution that strikes should only be employed as a last resort; otherwise it will lose its potency and the sympathy of the ordinary people, Onuegbu, a former Industrial Relations Officer of PENGASSAN, said.

Onuegbu noted that strikes had yielded positive results in the country, citing the current democracy as one of the dividends of strikes.

“We are proud to say that without exemplary leadership, courage and unparalleled tenacity of purpose in the face of intimidating, unrestrained terror during the military dictatorship, the present democracy have eluded us.’’

He said that strikes had both economic and social costs, and the three tiers of government to pay attention to social dialogue and industrial relations.
According to him, mutual trust and mutual respect is key to social dialogue.

“When government and management act in manners that suggest that they should not be trusted, workers and unions that represent them will obviously be unwilling to take their promises and commitments seriously.’’

The chairman said that unions were not using dialogue because mediation, arbitration and litigation were “very tortuous and long’’ and often denied rather than resolve the issues.

Onuegbu said that industrial disputes could not be effectively resolved through legal process because it denied workers the right to express themselves through strikes which is a universal right.

He observed that dialogue, when exercised honestly, serves as a veritable means of resolving all grievances and conflicts, adding that the International Labour Organisation placed premium on it.[eap_ad_2] 

“Dialogue among and between the governments and the two `social partners, promotes consensus building and democratic involvement of those with vital stakes in the world of .

“Also, social dialogue is key to the achievement of all the other objectives of the ILO. Let me quickly clarify that social dialogue must necessarily include the implementation of the agreements that have been reached.

“This is because without the implementation of the agreements reached by way of social dialogue, the process will end up a waste of time.’’

The TUC chairman admitted that the first alternative to strike was social dialogue, noting, however, that the Trade Dispute Act, acknowledged that disputes were inevitable in industrial organisations.

According to him, the Act stipulates that workers and the management should enter into collective bargaining toward resolving any crisis internally, through the means of dialogue.

Onuegbu said that essentially, parties might utilise mediation, arbitration and litigation when social dialogue failed. (NAN)[eap_ad_3]