ABUJA – Nigerian workers have suggested that the best way to avoid persistent strikes and ensure industrial harmony is for the government to implement mutual agreements reached with labour.
The workers made their views known on the occasion of the celebration of the 2015 Workers Day on Friday in Abuja.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the respondents advised the incoming government to avoid unnecessary acrimony with workers and initiate moves to improve on industrial harmony.
Dr Ador Leku, the National Vice President, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), advised the incoming government to improve funding of universities and meet pending agreements with past governments.
“We are a very disciplined union and we believe in dialogue. It is only when dialogue fails that we resort to another weapon, which is strike.
“Currently, there are a lot of issues — university funding and allowances not paid. We have made our submissions to the Federal Government and we want the Federal Government to pay our allowances.
“Since government assets and liabilities are continuous, we appeal to the incoming government to pay our outstanding allowances so that there will be peace and harmony,’’ he said.
Similarly, Mustapha Abubakar, a member of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) advised the incoming government to meet with the leadership of the workers’ union to fashion out ways of preventing industrial disharmony.
“The incoming government should sit down with the two main unions we have in the country (NLC and TUC) and articulate all the problems of the labour movement and see how we can have a smooth ride.
“The difference varies from one sector to another but the central body has an idea of what is happening to branches under them.
“So they should be able to articulate their challenges and it will help the government to genuinely meet the needs of workers,’’ Abubarkar advised.
Mr Chris Achir, the Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) branch of the Nigerian Labour Congress, advised the incoming government to improve on infrastructure in hospitals.
“People want to see improved access to health and we know that if there are strikes, the healthcare providers should make provision for healthcare enrollees that are registered with them. “
“We have decayed infrastructure and most workers are not motivated; there is need for training and re-training.’’
Achir further urged the government to ensure that budgetary allocations to the health sector are fully released to relevant healthcare institutions.
“ Government can improve health services by making budgetary provision because when the budgets are not deployed to the various sectors that need the funding, it will not help the sector.’’
He stressed the need for the government re-examine the issue of remuneration of health workers with a view to eradicating the discrimination between doctors and other health workers.
Also commenting, Mr Dauda Mohammed, a member of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), FCT branch, urged the incoming administration to strive to meet the expectations of workers.
“Every abnormality should be put right, doing justice to every organisation so that the welfare of citizens is given to them.
“For the past two or three years now that we have been coming here for this same issue, the government will promise all sorts of packages for civil servants but nothing has been done up till now
“We appeal to the government to try and meet our expectations as civil servants,’’ he said. (NAN)
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